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Google Impact Challenge: Columbia to Help Local Nonprofits Strengthen Communities

Posted By Meaghan Norman and Peter Schottenfels, Monday, June 11, 2018 will provide $250K in grants to Columbia-area nonprofit organizations to bring innovative ideas to life 

COLUMBIA (June 11, 2018) - Today, Google launched the Impact Challenge Columbia inviting local nonprofits to submit proposals for bold ideas to grow economic opportunity in the local community.

This 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. Through Grow with Google, the company’s aim is to help everyone across America – those who make up the workforce of today, the students who will drive the workforce of tomorrow and the small businesses that keep our economy strong – access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses. 

“We are proud to bring the Impact Challenge to Columbia,” said Google’s External Affairs Manager, Lilyn Hester. “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 Columbia works: 

Qualifying nonprofits from Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda and Sumter counties are invited to submit their proposals for their most creative and innovative ideas to grow economic opportunity in their community. Together with a panel of expert advisors, Google will review these applications and chose 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 that public vote will receive an additional $50,000 in funding. 

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

Columbia-area nonprofit organizations can find more information on the Impact Challenge and submit their applications by visiting The deadline for submissions is July 11, 2018 at 11:59pm ET. The four finalists are expected to be named in the fall of 2018. 


From Impact Challenge Columbia's Advisors: 

“It’s incredibly exciting to have the Google Impact Challenge highlighting the great work of our local nonprofits. I simply cannot wait to see the big ideas they come up with to create new economic opportunities and make our community an even better place to live, work and raise our families.” - Judi Gatson, WIS News Anchor

“Innovation, giving back, and economic development are three things that drive my company and me. I am thrilled to partner with Google for their Impact Challenge Columbia to help select innovative nonprofits to receive funding to help grow our local economy. Exciting things are happening in the Midlands and I am grateful for Google’s investment in our community.”             - Lou Kennedy, CEO, NephronPharmaceuticals Corp.

“Google’s Impact Challenge Columbia is a game changer for local nonprofit organizations that are striving to strengthen our citizens and bring about economic growth in our communities. I’m honored to have the opportunity to play a small role in Google’s effort to increase creativity and innovation within our organizations. I love that Google believes in helping those who do good be great. Their efforts will surely have a lasting impact on participating organizations and on Columbia.” - Madeleine McGee, President, Together SC

“Great things happen in Columbia, every day. Many of those things are ideas that complement the great work of our local nonprofits, which make our neighborhoods strong and empower individuals to make a global difference. I am delighted Google has recognized the quality and diversity of our region’s nonprofits through Impact Challenge Columbia. I look forward to seeing the creative and innovative proposals that will come from this challenge to help strengthen our community.” - Harris Pastides, President, University of South Carolina


Contact: Peter Schottenfels / 646-832-6785

Meaghan Norman / 803-767-1396

Tags:  economic development  economy  Google  nonprofits 

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