Google Impact Challenge coming to Columbia to help local nonprofits

(WIS) - The Google Impact Challenge is coming to Columbia to help local nonprofits bring ideas to life.

The company launched the Google.org Impact Challenge Columbia on June 11, inviting nonprofits to submit proposals for bold ideas to grow economic opportunity in the community. They will provide $250,000 in grants to Columbia nonprofits.

The announcement follows the Grow with Google event hosted in Columbia in May where more than 750 individuals attended workshops, one-on-one coaching sessions, and hands-on demos. With Grow with Google, the company's aim is to help everyone across America access the best of Google's training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and business.

"We are proud to bring the Google.org Impact Challenge to Columbia," Google's External Affairs Manager Lilyn Hester said. "There are so many great nonprofit organizations here with big ideas to create opportunities for Columbia residents. We hope this challenge helps bring those ideas to life."

As part of Impact Challenge Columbia, Google is seeking fresh ideas from local nonprofits to help grow the Midlands economy.

Here's how the Impact Challenge works:

Qualifying nonprofits from Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda and Sumter counties are invited to submit their proposals for their creative and innovative ideas to grow economic opportunity in their community.

Together with a panel of expert advisers, Google will review these applications and choose four winners who will receive $50,000 in grant funding and training from Google.

After the four winners are announced, the Columbia community will be invited to vote on which project they believe will have the greatest impact in the community. The winner of the public vote will receive an additional $50,000 in funding.

The panel of local advisers selected to review the applications includes WIS News Anchor Judi Gatson, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp. CEO Lou Kennedy, Together SC President Madeline McGee, and University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides.

"Great things happen in Columbia every day. Many of those things are ideas that compliment the great work of our local nonprofits, which make our neighborhoods strong and empower individuals to make a global difference," USC President Harris Pastides said.

Columbia-area nonprofit organizations can find more information on the Impact Challenge and submit their applications on the Columbia Challenge website. The deadline for submissions is July 11, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.

The four finalists are expected to be named in the fall of 2018.

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