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Google’s Impact Challenge Columbia seeks proposals

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Nonprofits from eight Midlands counties are invited to submit proposals for programs aimed at increasing economic opportunity as part of the Google.org Impact Challenge Columbia.

Google officials, along with a panel of local advisers, will choose four winners to receive $50,000 grants for funding and training. The Columbia community will then vote on which project has the most potential, and the winner of the public vote will receive an additional $50,000.

A Grow with Google event in Columbia last month drew more than 750 participants to workshops and coaching sessions designed to improve technological skills.

“We are proud to bring the Google.org Impact Challenge to Columbia,” Lilyn Hester, Google external affairs manager, said in a news release. “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.”

Qualifying nonprofits from Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda and Sumter counties are eligible to participate. The advisory panel will include Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy, University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides and WIS news anchor Judi Gatson.

“Innovation, giving back and economic development are three things that drive my company and me,” Kennedy said. “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.”

The submission deadline is July 11, and winners will be announced in the fall. For more information, visit http://g.co/columbiachallenge

“I am delighted Google has recognized the quality and diversity of our region’s nonprofits through Impact Challenge Columbia,” Pastides said. “I look forward to seeing the creative and innovative proposals that will come from this challenge to help strengthen our community.”

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