"Google supplied the first major funding to help the organization get off the ground," comments Sinha. "We feel like we've made a lot more progress than we ever expected." While the funding certainly helped with the efforts, another big benefit was the additional publicity, which "really helped kick us off the ground. It added a lot of attention and a lot more donors to follow."
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)
FIRST is an educational nonprofit designed to encourage STEM education for young people by placing them with science and technology mentors.
Google injection: $3 million to "develop and jump-start new student-driven robotics team fundraising programs that will empower more student teams to participate in FIRST."
Since then: FIRST has further developed a series of robotics competitions, ranging from a program in which elementary-school kids build working machines using Legos to a high school competition that challenges students to design, build, and program working robots and compete for $11 million in college scholarships.
Public.Resource.Org is a nonprofit organization that makes government functions (federal, state, and local) more transparent by publishing public-domain materials at no cost. Think of it as a sort of aboveground Wikileaks.
Google injection: $2 million "to support the Law.Gov initiative, which aims to make all primary legal materials in the United States available to all."
Since then: Public.Resource.Org's president and founder Carl Malamud told me that since the Google funding, the organization has been "quite busy" creating its public law initiative, which publishes laws online for anyone to view for free. The group has also managed to expand the site's scope to offer access to U.S. House of Representatives hearings and all 6 million-plus filings from IRS-exempt organizations.
One of the strangest and most eye-catching of the recipient organizations is Shweeb. The New Zealand company (and the only for-profit unit in the bunch) has created a personal rapid-transit network consisting of individual self-propelled pods that move along a monorail track. The technology was originally built for an eco-amusement park, but the company has plans to refine the model for practical, daily urban transportation.
Google injection: $1 million "to fund research and development to test Shweeb's technology for an urban setting."
Since then: Shweeb hasn't quite built a daily-transportation system just yet. However, Peter Cossey, Shweeb's managing director, says that the company is "hopeful that by the end of 2013, a test module will be complete. If so, we would then look to have a small demonstration module by the first quarter of 2014."
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