un 17, 2021

4 min read

A $50 million investment in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, progress hiring in key growth sites like Atlanta and D.C., a new inclusive marketing toolkit, and other efforts to make sure our workplace and products are equitable and representative.


Melonie ParkerChief Diversity OfficerShare

One year ago today, we announced commitments to build sustainable equity for Google’s Black community and beyond, and make our products and programs more helpful to Black users. Since then, we’ve been working to translate our commitments into lasting meaningful change. Today we’re sharing more updates on our progress.

We’re announcing a $50 million grant to Historically Black Colleges and Universities to broaden access to opportunities for underrepresented groups in STEM, and an update on the more than $320 million we’ve committed to organizations working to address racial inequities over the past year. In our own workplace, we’re sharing progress on how we’re hiring in key growth sites like Atlanta and D.C., and our new onboarding pilot for Black Googlers. And in our products, we’re launching a new Marketing Toolkit and making improvements to our Pixel camera to ensure the Black community is represented in our work.

Creating equity in our workplace

2020 was our largest year ever for hiring Black+ Googlers in the U.S. — both overall, and in tech roles. We’re on track to meet our goals to improve leadership representation of underrepresented groups by 30 percent by 2025 and more than double the number of Black Googlers at all other levels by 2025.

We’re also investing in growing Atlanta, Chicago, New York and DC — locations that we’ve heard from our Black+ Googlers contribute to a high quality of life. In 2021 so far, we’ve grown these sites by more than 650 employees. We’re on track to meet our goals of 1,000 in 2021 and 10,000 by the end of 2025. 

We continue to invest in programming that helps Googlers grow and thrive at Google. This month we launched a new onboarding pilot, which offers tailored content to support Black employees as they begin their Google career. We plan to roll the program out globally by the end of the year. 

Working in close consultation with our Black employees, last year we introduced a student loan repayment program to help Googlers build more financial stability over the long term, since we know that student loan debt disproportionately affects women and communities of color. To date, we’ve paid out $3 million in student loan repayment matches. 

Work related to education 

We’re proud to partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to broaden access to higher education and opportunities in tech. Today we’re announcing a new $50 million unrestricted grant to 10 HBCUs that will help them support scholarships, invest in technology for classrooms, and develop curriculum and career readiness. Each institution will receive a one-time unrestricted financial grant of $5 million, providing institutions with the flexibility to invest in their communities and the future workforce as they see fit. 
This commitment builds on our Pathways to Tech initiative, which is designed to build equity for HBCU computing education, help job seekers find tech roles, and ensure that Black employees have growth opportunities and feel included at work.

READ ARTICLE$50 million for HBCUs to address the diversity gap in techThis financial commitment is our largest to date for HBCUs.

Building products and tools for change

As a part of our ongoing commitment to product inclusion, we’re working to make technology more accessible and equitable. Over the last year we’ve launched a number of important features including a Black-owned business attribute on Maps, Assistant responses on Black Lives Matter, and ways marketers can support Black-owned publishers in Display & Video 360. 

Another example is our recent efforts to build a more equitable camera, where we partnered with 17 professional image makers to make changes to our computational photo algorithms to address long-standing issues with how digital cameras represent Black people in photos. This includes auto balance adjustments to bring out natural brown tones and prevent over-brightening and desaturation of darker skin tones. We’re working to bring these changes to Google Pixel later this year.  
And earlier today, we made our inclusive marketing toolkit available to all marketers. This toolkit has helped us make improvements to how the Black community is represented in our work, and we’re excited to share what we’ve learned with the industry.

Helping create economic opportunity and furthering social justice

Over the past year, we’ve committed more than $320 million to organizations working to address racial inequities. This includes grants to racial and social justice organizations, and support for job skilling initiatives, small business and startups. Here are some examples of what we’ve done so far:

To continue the work, we recently launched a second $5 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in the U.S. and announced the 30 founders who would be receiving up to $100,000 in non-dilutive funding from Google for Startup’s $2 million Europe focused fund.

We also support Black media and creators. For example, in 2020, we advertised across more than 60 Black-owned media properties as part of our U.S. media spend and will increase our spend on Black-owned media by 4X this year. Here’s a sample of some other initiatives from the last year:

  • The Google News Initiative (GNI) launched the Ad Transformation Lab: a multi-month program to help Black and Latino news publishers in the U.S. and Canada advance their advertising strategies and grow digital revenue, in partnership with Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr., President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) as well as the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) and the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP).  Learning from the success stories of the Ad Transformation Lab, we’ll continue to collaborate with AAN, NAHP and NNPA to launch new business-oriented Labs in coming months. 
  • In May 2021, we created the Google News Initiative Student Fellowship program to help develop and support diverse, up-and-coming news and media talent that are interested in careers at the intersection of technology, media and journalism. Applications for the Fellowship are open until June 21, 2021. 
  • Last October, we announced the $100 million #YouTubeBlackVoices Fund, which has provided funding, training and support from YouTube to help 132 creators and artists from around the world to help grow their audience and build thriving businesses. We’ll open up applications for the  Class of 2022 on June 21, 2021. 

We know there’s more to be done, so we’ll continue to make sure our workplace and products are equitable and representative. I look forward to sharing more updates as this important work moves forward.