Google paying out worldwide grants

January 17, 2008 7:24:58 PM PST
Google announced its latest plans to share its wealth and make the world a better place. It's handing out millions of dollars to tackle everything from disease and poverty to global warming.

Dr. Larry Brilliant is in charge of giving away some of Google's wealth.

"Google has resources that can help a little bit to make the world a little fairer, little bit safer, and a little bit more secure," says Brilliant.

Google's founders set up in 2004 and pledged to devote one percent of the company's equity, plus one percent of annual profits to philanthropy.

On Thursday, Google identified it's top priorities with five core initiatives and doled out more than $25 million dollars in grants. Nearly $8 million dollars is going to organizations working on predicting and preventing health threats such as infectious disease.

Much of the money is directed to Southeast Asia and tropical Africa. The global health and security initiative is one of the grant recipients.

"We can respond and get early warning of serious disease that might affect all of us but in particular it helps those countries, those developing countries who need help," says Terry Taylor, Global Health And Security Initiative.

Millions are also going to improve basic services to the poor in India and East Africa. Small and medium sized businesses will get funding in underdeveloped rural areas as a way of promoting job and economic growth. Two of the five core initiatives tackle global warming by supporting ventures that develop renewable energy and plug in vehicles.

Google employees will also lend their talents to Google's newly identified philanthropic efforts.

"This is a very motivated place, people have high expectations. They want fast results and they're willing to work really hard and they're smart. Having that energy in a group of people is more important than the money," says Brilliant.

Analysts say Google appears poised to spend about $2 billion dollars over the next 20 years doing good.