Four Pittsburgh nonprofits have each won a $50,000 prize in Google’s first Impact Challenge Pittsburgh competition — and you can help decide which one will win an additional $50,000.
The winners, who competed against nearly 100 other applicants, are Idea Foundry, Pittsburgh Community Kitchen, Pittsburgh Conservation Corps and Prototype PGH.
For the final phase of the challenge, the public is being asked to vote (do it here) beginning on Feb. 28 to choose which idea will receive additional funding. Google says the competition is meant to rally “the community around bold ideas to make our neighborhoods even better.”
Last October at the company’s Bakery Square offices, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai announced the company’s Grow with Google initiative, designed to help create economic opportunity around the country. The Impact Challenge was launched in November and a panel of advisors (philanthropist and former Steeler Charlie Batch, Carnegie Library President and Director Mary Frances Cooper, Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant and Kamal Nigam, engineering director of Google’s Pittsburgh office) have helped sort through submissions.
They judged the project ideas on their level of innovation, potential community impact, the effectiveness of their reach into the community, and feasibility.
Idea Foundry’s winning project aims to foster businesses led by minorities and immigrants, while Pittsburgh Community Kitchen is seeking to offer culinary training and employment to Pittsburghers battling challenges such as addiction, homelessness and mental illness.
The Pittsburgh Conservation Corps is looking to create solid income-earning opportunities for more than 150 people who have been on public assistance, and Prototype PGH plans to enroll 1,000 women in workshops that will help increase their earnings and even help some start their own businesses.
Public voting for those four ideas runs through March 14.