Let's build an even better Bay Area together.

The Bay Area has always been home to changemakers and forward-thinkers who challenge the status quo. In this spirit, the Google Impact Challenge seeks big ideas for an even better Bay Area and supports nonprofits chosen by a public vote.

Apply by July 23

Nominate a Nonprofit

Application submission
Application review
Voting begins
Winners announced

About the Challenge

The Bay Area has a history of being at the forefront of progress. It's a place where big thinkers change the way things are by questioning the way things have been, and where people from different backgrounds work side by side toward a common goal.

The Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area is an opportunity for this community of motivated minds to come together. It calls on nonprofits to offer up innovative ways they can better the Bay Area. A panel of local advisors will review these ideas, and the entire community can lend a hand by voting on the nonprofits they think will have the biggest impact. In total, Google.org will award $5 million across 25 nonprofits, as well as support from Google volunteers and partners.

How it Works

2014 Winners

In 2014, we invested $5 million in 25 Bay Area nonprofits and connected them with
Google volunteers to help them achieve their goals. Here are a few of their stories.

Beyond 12

Coaching students to thrive in college and beyond

Beyond 12: Coaching students to thrive in college and beyond

What if we could break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income students graduate from college? With a $250,000 grant from the Google Impact Challenge, Beyond 12 was able to design and pilot a mobile app that helps low-income students succeed in college and beyond by, among other features, communicating directly with a virtual college coach. The app will allow Beyond 12 to scale its high-touch coaching services from 2,000 students to 10,000 students nationwide in the next 5 years. The organization hopes to eventually serve 250,000 students annually. As a part of its Google Impact Challenge grant, Beyond 12 also received access to meeting space at the Impact Hub, trainings and help from Google in assessing mobile app developers.

Center for Employment Opportunities

Providing jobs and support for formerly incarcerated people

Center for Employment Opportunities: Providing jobs and support for formerly incarcerated people

What if we could help formerly incarcerated adults rebuild their lives for good? The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) provides jobs that help people build a better life after prison. With a $500,000 Google Impact Challenge grant, CEO developed an app that its clients use to track their attendance, performance and progress in work-placement programs, helping them to develop--and improve--critical job skills and stay motivated. The hands-on help from Google was "as valuable as the grant itself," said California Director Bill Heiser, as Google employees helped with everything from analyzing complex participant data to training staff on using Google technology in the office.

Hack the Hood

Jump-starting tech careers for low-income youth

Hack the Hood: Jump-starting tech careers for low-income youth

What if low-income youth could access a career path to jobs in the tech sector? Hack the Hood operates 6-week camps to train young people ages 16-24 for careers in tech by hiring and training them to build websites for small businesses in their communities. With a $500,000 Google Impact Challenge grant, Hack the Hood expanded its camps in San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond to serve 6 times as many young people, and received national media attention that led to additional funding. In addition, the organization worked with over 90 Google employees who volunteered as strategic advisors and fundraisers for the organization. Next, Hack the Hood is expanding its curriculum beyond 6 weeks and scaling geographically.

Instituto Familiar de La Raza

Taking collective action to prevent violence in the Mission

Instituto Familiar de La Raza: Taking collective action to prevent violence in the Mission

What if we could create holistic systems of support to help Latino/a youth in San Francisco succeed? In response to the deaths of Latino youth in the Mission District, the community and eight nonprofits came together to develop the Roadmap to Peace (RTP), an initiative to create peace and address conditions that place San Francisco Latino/a youth at risk for violence. Since receiving a $100,000 Google Impact Challenge grant and a matching grant from The Mayor's Office of Violence Prevention, the RTP hired a full-time staff member to drive the initiative's three pillars: the Service Network, political advocacy, and community building. The RTP Service Network connects Latino/a youth who are out of school and unemployed to a web of providers who provide holistic and culturally and linguistically appropriate services.

Lava Mae

Providing mobile showers and toilets for homeless people

Lava Mae: Providing mobile showers and toilets for homeless people

What if homeless people could access a dignified place to take a shower? Lava Mae applied to the Google Impact Challenge with plans to create San Francisco’s first mobile shower service. "Google believed in us," says Community Engagement Director Leah Filler. After Lava Mae received a $100,000 Google Impact Challenge grant, it retrofitted a city bus and delivered 1,300 showers during its six-month pilot program. Since then, the organization has doubled its staff and is repurposing three additional busses to deliver a total of 50,000 showers annually. Along the way, Google volunteers have helped Lava Mae improve its internal systems and have written a toolkit for other organizations to replicate its model.

Mission Asset Fund

Expanding credit opportunities for hardworking families

Mission Asset Fund: Expanding credit opportunities for hardworking families

What if every family could access affordable loans to build a financially stable future? Mission Asset Fund sets up Lending Circles that provide low-income people with zero-interest loans so that they can build credit and access traditional banking. With a $250,000 Google Impact Challenge grant, Mission Asset Fund hired new staff and trained 10 Lending Circle partners in less than a year, including Building Skills Partnership, a San Jose nonprofit that expands opportunity for janitorial staff. Additionally, a group of Google software engineers has worked with Mission Asset Fund on building its first online annual report.

One Degree

Improving access to social services for low-income families

One Degree: Improving access to social services for low-income families

What if people in need could easily access resources around them in times of need? One Degree is transforming the way low-income people access essential services via a simple, user-friendly local listing app. Since receiving a $100,000 Google Impact Challenge grant, One Degree was able to increase their social service listings from 400 to over 5000, expand to Alameda County, and hire new staff. The organization has also trained over 100 nonprofits to use its listings when serving clients. As a result, the One Degree platform reached over 26,000 beneficiaries in the first 9 months after receiving their Google Impact Challenge grant.

San Francisco Baykeeper

Protecting shoreline through mapping and outreach

San Francisco Baykeeper: Protecting shoreline through mapping and outreach

What if people could see ecological changes in the San Francisco Bay and learn how to protect it? Baykeeper has long been an advocate for combatting industrial pollution, erosion and sea level rise in the San Francisco Bay. Since receiving a $100,000 Google Impact Challenge grant, Baykeeper has captured 250 miles of shoreline imagery with help from the Google Street View team, their Trekker cameras and a remotely piloted catamaran. Baykeeper is using the imagery to encourage lawmakers and community members to protect the Bay against environmental threats.


Meet our panel of advisors. Together we will
review the submissions and select the finalists.


What are we looking for?

  1. Community impact. Does the proposed project improve the lives of local residents? We're looking for projects with creative approaches to meeting basic human needs, improving quality of life, or helping all residents reach their full potential.
  2. Innovation. Does the project reflect ambitious goals and an unexpected solution to an unmet need? We're looking for transformative projects that have the potential to create lasting change.

What are we looking for?

  1. Reach. Does the project have the potential to help a large number of people or serve as a model for other communities? We're looking for projects with big ideas that are likely to grow beyond the initial scope of impact.
  2. Feasibility. Is the organization's leadership nimble, adventurous, and inspired? Does the team have a well developed, realistic plan to execute on the proposal? We're looking for teams with a proven track record who can articulate the key drivers that will determine the success or failure of the project.

Is there a registration fee?

No. Applying for the Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area is free.

How do I know if my organization is eligible to participate?

Review the criteria here and the Google Impact Challenge Rules here.

What if I am not a registered nonprofit or in the process of registering now? Can I still apply?

You must be registered as a nonprofit (501(c)(3)) at the time of submitting your application. Please see the Rules for a definition of what this means.

I applied last year, can I apply again?

All eligible nonprofits can apply again, except the top 10 finalists from the 2014 Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area.

I won last year, can I apply again?

The top 10 finalists from the 2014 Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area are not eligible to apply. The 15 runners up can apply again.

What if I have a great idea, but my nonprofit isn't based in the Bay Area?

We're sorry, but the Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area is only open to nonprofits (501(c)(3)) with a registered office(s) in one of the nine counties in the Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano or Sonoma). Please see the Rules for details.

What if we're a local affiliate of a national organization? Can we still apply?

As long as you're a US 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a registered office(s) in the Bay Area, you are eligible to apply.

What if we're a nonprofit based in the Bay Area, but do work outside the Bay Area? Can we still apply?

Yes, as long as your proposed project is focused on making an impact in the Bay Area.

Can we apply if we're a for-profit business with a social impact?

Unfortunately, no. The Google Impact Challenge is only open to qualified registered nonprofits (501(c)(3)) in the Bay Area.

Can my organization submit more than one idea?

No. Organizations may only submit one application to the Challenge. Fiscal sponsors can submit more than one application if they are applying on behalf of multiple sponsored groups.

My organization has been nominated to apply, what does that mean?

Someone thought your organization was doing such great work that they shared your organization with us through our nomination form. If you're nominated, you'll receive an email from us inviting you to apply. Be sure to review the eligibility requirements in the Rules before submitting your application.

Do I have to be nominated by someone in order to apply?

No, you can apply directly here.

Will my application receive special treatment if I'm nominated?

No, all submissions will receive the same treatment - whether you were nominated or not.

Can we include appendices or additional information to the application?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to accept appendices to applications.

Can I save a draft of my application on the site if I want to edit it later?

No. Applications can't be saved for later completion, so we recommend drafting your responses in a separate document first and only completing the application form when the entire application is ready for submission.

How do I make sure my application is successfully submitted?

Make sure all required fields are populated and within the given word limits, then click the "Submit" button. If the application has been successfully submitted, you should see a screen with a message confirming that we received your application. You should also receive a confirmation email to the email address you provided. If you have any questions about your application submission, please contact us at gic-bayarea@google.com.

I've submitted my application. What do I do now?

That's great news. We'll announce the finalists and runners up at the end of September, and will reach out to you if we require any additional information.

Does my submission have to be in English?

Yes, please submit your application in English.

Do I need a Google account to apply?

No, you don't need a Google account.

What do you mean when you say "project"?

A project is your organization's proposed concept and implementation plan for how you will address a social issue. If selected for a grant, we'll support the implementation of this project so we need to know exactly how the grant will help you realize your plan.

If another organization is currently implementing a similar concept, can we still submit the idea?

Yes, but please note that projects will be judged on their innovative approach and potential to scale. So you'll need to tell us how and why your organization is uniquely suited to implement the concept in a way that will be more successful, or how you plan to partner with other organizations to achieve success.

Does this have to be a new idea for my organization?

It need not be brand new. In fact, it may already be a work in progress. We need to hear exactly how a grant will further your progress on implementation and impact.

Over what time period should the grant funds be spent?

We expect the grant to be spent over the course of one to three years.

Can the grant be used to fund overhead and staffing costs?

Yes, but the large majority of the award should be devoted to the implementation of the project.

Should we include Google's volunteering support in our proposal?

Your proposal and project plan should be exclusive of Google's assistance at this stage. If your project is selected as a winner, your organization will be responsible for implementing the full project and team members at Google will work with you to determine where we may be able to provide support to help execute the project.

Will details of our project idea be kept confidential?

Please do not submit any proprietary or confidential information in your application. Please keep in mind that if your organization is selected as a finalist, your project summary will be made available to the public on the website.

How will the entries be judged?

All applications received will be reviewed by a team at Google and a panel of advisors. Applications will be evaluated based on the Challenge Rules and criteria. A total of 25 grantees will be selected: 10 finalists and 15 runners up. The public will pick the four winners from the 10 finalists in a public vote running from September 29 through October 20.

Who are the advisors?

See our panel of advisors here. The advisors are selected based on both their demonstrated commitment to improving the Bay Area and their ability to rally public support for the best ideas.

Will every single application be reviewed?

Yes, we will review all eligible applications received.

What is the timeline and process for selecting the awardees?

  • July 23, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    Online applications due.
  • September 29, 2015 - October 20, 2015
    10 finalists and 15 runners up announced, and public invited to vote on the finalists. (Before any announcement is made, all finalists, runners up, and winners will be required to agree to the terms of the grant agreement without modifications.)
  • October 21, 2015
    Four winners selected by the public vote are announced.

*If selected as a finalist, you must be available between August 28 and September 29 to work with our team to develop any creative assets for the voting period.

What is the Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area?

The Google Impact Challenge is an open invitation to nonprofits in the Bay Area to share their vision for innovative ways to make our community stronger. We call on the public to vote for the projects they believe have the greatest potential for impact. Winning organizations receive grant funding and support from Googlers to help turn their ideas into reality.

Why is Google hosting the Google Impact Challenge in the Bay Area?

The Bay Area is home to many of our employees and their families, and we want to support the nonprofits that make our communities better. Since 2010, we have volunteered thousands of hours with local organizations and have given $100 million to Bay Area nonprofits. The Google Impact Challenge is about fueling innovation to support our communities and the great work of local nonprofits.

Learn more about our broader efforts to support our local community.

What will the selected grantees receive?

On September 29, we'll announce 10 finalists and invite the public to vote for their favorite projects.

The four organizations that get the most public votes will each receive:

  • $500,000 grant funding, support from Google volunteers and partners

Each of the six finalists not selected as winners will receive:

  • $250,000 grant funding, support from Google volunteers and partners

Each of the 15 runners up will receive:

  • $100,000 grant funding, support from Google volunteers and partners

Who can participate in the Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area?

Applicants must be registered nonprofits (501(c)(3)) based in the Bay Area whose work has a direct impact on Bay Area communities. The Bay Area includes the following nine counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma.

Can groups that are fiscally sponsored apply for the Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area?

Fiscal sponsors can submit an application on behalf of sponsored groups. Both the fiscal sponsor and the sponsored group must be located in the Bay Area. For additional details on applications being submitted through fiscal sponsors, see the Rules here.

How does my organization enter the Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area?

Please submit an application here by Thursday July 23, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.

Can I get a copy of the application questions before I fill out the application?

Yes, you can find a copy of the application questions here.

Where can I read a full copy of the Rules?

You can find the Rules here.

What if I still have questions?

Please contact us at gic-bayarea@google.com. We will review every email and post responses to commonly asked questions on our FAQ here to ensure that all interested applicants have access to the same helpful information.