Google adds details to philanthropic plans

Do no evil, the company's informal motto says, but Google Inc. is also intent on doing good. On Tuesday, it announced that the Google.org Web site will become an information center for its philanthropic activities, including the Google Foundation, and it shed more light on the activities first hinted at in its 2004 annual report.

The company has endowed the Google Foundation with US$90 million and has made the first few commitments to distribute the money, according to a posting in Google's company blog signed by Sheryl Sandberg, vice president of global online sales and operations.

The Foundation's commitments include a contribution of $5 million to a nonprofit venture fund, Acumen, that aims to alleviate global poverty through a market approach, and an unspecified sum to fund development of small businesses in Ghana, a project Google is working on jointly with TechnoServe.

Another activity covered by the Google.org umbrella is Google Grants, the company's free advertising program for nonprofit organizations. Through this project, Google has donated advertising worth $33 million to organizations including the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Doctors Without Borders and the Grameen Foundation USA, Sandberg wrote.

The company has also donated $2 million to the One Laptop Per Child program.

Google has promised to donate 1 percent of its profit and equity to philanthropic causes. The company has committed 3 million shares, 1 percent of its initial public offering, which it will donate and invest over a period of up to 20 years, Sandberg wrote.

The company will also donate 1 percent of each year's profits, she said.

In addition to the $90 million cash donation to the Google Foundation, the company has committed to giving up to $175 million over the next three years through its other Google.org efforts. Sandberg does not expect Google to make further donations to the Foundation in the foreseeable future.

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