10 bright ideas for a better
Bay Area

Nonprofits shared their bright ideas for a better Bay Area. We asked you to vote for your favorites. The top four winners received a $500,000 grant and six additional finalists each received $250,000. Explore these inspiring projects and get involved.

The 2014 Google Impact Challenge has concluded.
Learn more about the 2015 program here.

Bay Area Top 10

Beyond 12

Coaching students to thrive in college and beyond

Beyond 12

Nationally, only 8% of students from low-income backgrounds earn a degree by their mid-20s, and the Bay Area numbers are equally startling. Beyond 12 will develop the next generation of MyCoach, a mobile app that helps low-income students navigate the path to college and stay on track once they arrive, significantly enhancing graduation rates. MyCoach will reach over 10,000 Bay Area college students by 2018, and a projected 65% of those students will earn a degree within five years of entering college.

Literacy Lab

Supporting early childhood literacy through books and online community

Literacy Lab

Children from low-income families in the Bay Area hear 30-million fewer words than their peers by age four, and there is only one book for every 300 children in their community. Families that read together every day radically change this outcome. The Digital4Literacy project will give kids access to digital books, in multiple languages, while creating a supportive online community for parents and caregivers. Over three years, Literacy Lab will expand to create a literacy ecosystem in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties for 432 preschoolers and their families, providing them with up to 40,000 eBooks and learning apps.


Empowering high school kids through entrepreneurship


Approximately 20,000 Bay Area high school students, roughly one in four, drop out of high school each year, collectively costing society an estimated $5.84 billion over the course of their lifetime. BUILD actively works to increase high school graduation rates for at-risk youth with a four year entrepreneurial program. Students develop and run a business, gain confidence, academic support, and mentorship. Over five years, BUILD will scale 300% to reach 3,000 Bay Area students, producing 1,125 additional graduates each year ready for college and the working world.

Center for Employment Opportunities

Providing jobs and support for formerly incarcerated people

Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO)

Over 12,000 Bay Area residents were imprisoned in 2013. About 64% of people who leave prison return within three years, perpetuating a cycle that destabilizes families and communities. Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) helps people succeed through transitional employment and job placement. CEO will develop a tech platform to prepare participants for employment in a digital world. Over two years, CEO will provide transitional employment for over 500 formerly incarcerated people (300 in Oakland, 200 in San Jose), and will make 280 full-time job placements.

Community Music Center

Spreading the joy of music to older adults

Community Music Center (CMC)

Older adults represent 20% of the Bay Area population. Older adults face emotional and physical challenges each day that can be isolating, but research suggests that participating in music ensembles can help. Community Music Center (CMC) will establish 12 choral groups at culturally-diverse senior centers throughout San Francisco. Over the next four years, CMC will reach 400 low-income older adults, and will develop a model that can scale nationally.

Hack the Hood

Jumpstarting tech careers for low-income youth

Hack the Hood

In the Bay Area, research shows that students from low-income communities aren't exposed to the math and science training, or tech mentors that lead to job opportunities in the field. Without this access, these students are underprepared for careers in science and technology. Hack the Hood will address digital equity by training low-income kids to build websites for local small businesses, actively supporting them to launch their own tech careers. In two years, 5,000 students will support over 25,000 businesses across the Bay Area and receive technology training.

Mission Asset Fund

Expanding credit opportunities for hardworking families

Mission Asset Fund (MAF)

203,000 Bay Area families struggle to get affordable loans, cash checks, rent apartments, or set up utilities. On average, 9.5% of their pay goes toward predatory lenders' fees. Mission Assets Fund (MAF) will scale Lending Circles, a social loan program that helps build credit scores for low-income families. In two years, MAF will support 28 Bay Area nonprofits to offer Lending Circles in their respective communities, ultimately helping 2,240 people lend and borrow $1.9 million in interest-free social loans.

Pogo Park

Revitalizing forgotten neighborhoods through play

Pogo Park

Nearly 8,000 children live in Richmond's Iron Triangle, a one square mile area that is among the Bay Area's most densely populated, high poverty neighborhoods. Research shows that play boosts empathy and imagination in children, which has a positive and enduring effect on kids, families, and communities. Over three years, Pogo Park will transform three neglected parks in Richmond into magical play spaces for 8,000 at-risk children, and develop a scalable model and toolkit for other communities.


Inspiring subway riders with immersive public art


The Bay Area's underground transit system serves more than 169 million riders annually. SubArt's vision for the 49-station BART/MUNI system across 20 cities is an artistic redesign. Riders will enjoy art that reflects the diverse histories, cultures, and people of the Bay Area. In three to four years, over 500,000 people who travel through the Bay Area's BART/MUNI stations daily will experience beautiful art, making public transit a more attractive option.

The Health Trust

Increasing fresh food access for low-income families

The Health Trust

24% of kids in Santa Clara County live in food deserts, with limited access to healthy options. Meanwhile, the Bay Area hosts a year-round growing season, acres of unused land, and a network of eager urban farmers. The Health Trust will extend its "Good. To go." program, creating new distribution channels for affordable produce. This program expands street vendors, corner stores, and farmers' markets for underserved areas. Over two years, The Health Trust will distribute 50,000 pounds of produce to 10,000 low-income residents in Santa Clara County.

About the Challenge

The Impact Challenge invited nonprofits to share their bright ideas for a better Bay Area. An impressive roster from fields like education, housing, youth engagement and more came to participate. A panel of community advisors helped review their submissions, and the community voted for their favorite projects.

The four organizations that received the most public votes were each awarded $500,000 grant funding. The remaining six from the top 10 received a $250,000 grant. 15 additional finalists were also selected to receive a $100,000 grant to scale their impact in the community. All 25 nonprofits will receive technical support from Google and one year of accelerator support through Impact Hub SF.

Enjoy a complete snapshot of the nonprofits working to make a better Bay Area.

The 2014 Google Impact Challenge has concluded.
Learn more about the 2015 program here.

Community Advisors

Meet our panel of community advisors. Together we reviewed submissions and selected the Bay Area Top 10.

Honorable Aida Alvarez

Chair, Latino Community Foundation and Former Administrator, US Small Business Administration

Jacquelline Fuller

Director, Google.org

Secretary Norman Mineta

Former Mayor of San José and Former US Secretary of Transportation

Chief Teresa Deloach Reed

Fire Chief, City of Oakland

Reverend Cecil Williams

Founder and Minister of Liberation, Glide Memorial United Methodist Church

Barry Zito

Major League Baseball Player and Philanthropist

15 Bay Area Finalists

Every nonprofit brings extraordinary value and promise to the Bay Area. They impact our community in different ways - from microfinance for small business owners to education through hip hop, to restoration of our shoreline. These fifteen were awarded grants of $100,000 to continue their inspiring work, and to help make an even better Bay Area.

Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center

Health outreach for Tenderloin teens via SMS

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Restorative justice hub for Oakland young adults with Community Works West


Cloud-based document storage for the homeless

Instituto Familiar de la Raza

Collective action to reduce violence in the Mission

Lava Mae

Mobile showers and toilets for the homeless

Maker Education Initiative

Empowering educators to engage youth in making


Surplus medical supplies matched with community clinics

Mural Music and Arts Project

STEAM education through hip hop videos

Museum of Children's Art

Library arts program for low-income Oakland families

New Door Ventures

Skill-building employment for at-risk youth

One Degree

Improving access to social services for low-income families

Opportunity Fund Northern California

Affordable microloans to help grow small businesses


Fresh food marketplace for communities

San Francisco Baykeeper

Shoreline protection through mapping and outreach


Employment opportunities for people with disabilities