Google Stops Donations To Charitable Arm
One short sentence in Google’s fourth quarter financial press release has raised some eyebrows. “Google does not expect to make further donations to the Google Foundation for the foreseeable future.” But, seeing as the philanthropic arm of Google made a call for job applicants today, it doesn’t appear to have been thrown in the recycle bin.
Part of Google.org, the Google Foundation was granted $90 million from Google Inc. after sale of the company’s initial public offering. An additional $900 million in stock was set aside for Google.org. It seems now, though, that donations from Google Inc. will stop.
In October, Search Engine Watch reported that a representative of a Google shareholders group questioned the wisdom of the donation as it might cause confusion about personal and corporate assets, and that may also be the reasoning behind the recent cessation.
It could also mean that Google has found alternative ways to fund the organization that founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page hoped would “eclipse Google in overall world impact by ambitiously applying innovation and significant resources to the largest of the world’s problems.
Google’s list of the largest world problems include global poverty, lack of entrepreneurial skills and resources, poor water quality, and illiteracy. Those problems may be difficult to address with less than $1 billion in cash and stock and finite funding. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which addresses similar problems, currently has an endowment of over $28 billion.
Nonetheless, just because Google Inc. has stopped funding the Foundation directly, it doesn’t mean the charitable cause has been tabled. Today, as posted on the Google Blog, the Google Foundation announced it is looking for ten business-minded leaders to drive a new Acumen Fund Fellows Program, which will begin in September 2006.
Google could not be reached for comment.
Google responded and clarified that though donations have ceased, Google Foundation as well as Google.org will continue to be funded as per their original committment. Google spokesman Steve Langdon said, “Google is continuing with it’s commitment of one percent of profits and equity.”