Google.org awards $2.35 million in grants to Bay Area racial justice groups

Google’s charitable arm announced grants totaling $2.35 million Tuesday to three Bay Area nonprofits working to promote racial justice.

The grants, announced Tuesday night at the Castro Theater in San Francisco following a special screening of the film 3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets, are intended to support “social innovators” working to make the Bay Area a better place, according to Google officials.

“We want to give local nonprofits the resources and support needed to be bold and innovative in their approach to our region’s toughest social challenges, including those associated with racial injustice,” Justin Steel, head of Bay Area Giving at Google.org, said today in a statement.

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland was awarded two grants of $500,000 each. One of the grants will be used toward the launch of Restore Oakland, a joint project with the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United intended to assist the formerly incarcerated and low-wage workers get jobs paying living wages within the food industry, according to Ella Baker Center officials.

The project, which is expected to launch next year, will include a worker training program, food enterprise incubator, restaurant, restorative justice program and health and childcare, center officials said today.

The Restore Oakland program previously received a $1 million grant in July from the San Francisco Foundation as part of a $34 million donation by an anonymous donor that benefited a number of Oakland nonprofits.

The second $500,000 grant to the Ella Baker Center will support a campaign led by #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Cullors seeking to counter police violence.

The Truth and Reinvestment Campaign seeks to create a rapid response network that will allow communities to mobilize quickly in response to police violence, center officials said. The campaign also seeks to expand the use of the Mobile Justice App, an app developed by the Ella Baker Center and the American Civil Liberties Union to help community members record and report alleged civil rights violation or incidents involving law enforcement.

Another group, the San Jose-based Silicon Valley De-Bug, received $600,000 toward its Albert Cobarrubius Justice Project. The program, which is already operating in other areas including New York City, will create Bay Area groups supporting the families of people incarcerated within the criminal justice system.

Using a community organizing model, the program will teach family members how to navigate the criminal justice system and actively assist public defenders in building a stronger case, according to Adrian Avila, Silicon Valley De-Bug’s art director.

And lastly, the Oakland Unified School District’s African American Male Achievement Program, which aims to help close the achievement gap for black male students, received $750,000. The funds will be used for a new school-within-a-school career academy for 10th to 12th graders, according to Google officials.

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