Google Steps Up for Flint

Google announced it will award $250,000 in grant money to various efforts to help the water crisis situation in Flint, Michigan.

The grants will be delivered via Google’s foundation arm—Google.org.

The University of Michigan is receiving $150,000 to create a comprehensive data platform to help government and community leaders make decisions related to the water crisis and also to provide critical information to citizens.

Student researchers under the guidance of a Mark Allison, a computer science professor, will develop a mobile website and app that performs data visualization. The two will allow Flint citizens to request services such as reporting water concerns and requesting water- testing kits.

$100,000 is going to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint for its Flint Child Health & Development Fund. The foundation is working on short- and long-term positive outcomes for Flint children who were exposed to elevated levels of lead. The fund was created to help newborns to children up to 6 years old—this group is most vulnerable to the detriments of lead exposure.

The Black Googler Network, which is one of Google’s largest employee resource groups with 12 branches worldwide, is also working with the foundation on the project and will help raise funds and provide support.

Local Flint area Googlers, have also raised $30,000 for response efforts in Flint and are continuing matching campaigns.

In February, Google awarded $3 million in grants for social justice causes including San Francisco’s My Brother and Sister’s Keeper (MBSK) program; Oakland’s Roses in Concrete Community School; the tech-enabled college success startup, Beyond12; and the national Equal Justice Initiative, headed up by Bryan Stevenson.

Patrisse Cullors, the co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, was one of the first recipients of Google.org’s new giving cause and received a $500,000 grant for her activism efforts.

Diversifying Google: Meet Three Black Google Engineers

As tech companies continue to share diversity statistics with the public, it’s clear there is still a lot of work to do to boost inclusion in tech. Yet, people of color are working at some of the largest companies in technology even though their numbers are few.

Google’s latest diversity stats from January 2015  show that 2% of its workforce is black. Meet three successful Google engineers:

[RELATED: Catching Up With the Black Tony Stark]

Clennita Justice

Clennita Justice, Senior Engineering Program Manager, Google; Image: Google

Clennita Justice
Clennita Justice is a Social Engineering program manager. She’s been at Google more than half a decade.

She was hired to launch Google e-books, which became Google Play Books. Now, she does user research and Product Excellence—a focus on making the right product for the right user—part of Google’s shift in culture from launching to adopting. Justice’s particular area of focus is infrastructure.

Originally from Los Angeles, Justice has a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Howard University. She pursued a degree in Computer Science before the Internet was ubiquitous and before the big push to get women and girls interested in STEM, and despite the insistence of her uncle (who worked for IBM) that she study business.

She actually studied business for a year at Denver University as a business major. When she took a course in DOS programming and received an “A”, she was hooked and switched her major to Computer Science. She eventually taught herself HTML and JavaScript as the Internet took off.

A pivotal moment in her life was when someone in the Computer Science department at her university said he didn’t think she would stay in Computer Science. Not only did she stay and complete her degree, but she received the best job offer of anyone in her class.

Justice is a strong believer in self-educating. She also advises, “Anyone who gets into tech has to be a constant learner. That’s how you stay relevant.”

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