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Published on October 3rd, 2018 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Google.org Impact Challenge Columbia Awards $250,000 to Four Local Nonprofits

Epworth Children’s Home, Midlands Technical College Foundation, Richland Library and Riverbanks Foundation receive funding; Public invited to vote on additional $50,000 grant

COLUMBIA – Grow with Google announced $250,000 in grants to four local nonprofits as part of the Google.org Impact Challenge Columbia. Epworth Children’s Home, Midlands Technical College Foundation, Richland Library and Riverbanks Foundation will each receive a $50,000 grant and training from Google to support economic opportunity in the community.

“Google is thrilled to support these amazing organizations, each of which is doing important work to advance economic opportunity,” said Tia Bethea of Grow with Google. “We’re excited by the big ideas they put forward and are eager to see which idea receives the most votes from the people of Columbia.”

Following the announcement, the community is invited to vote on which of these four nonprofits will receive an additional $50,000 grant. The community is encouraged to visit g.co/columbiachallenge and select a finalist to receive an extra grant by Tuesday, October 9 at 11:59 PM.

The four organizations were selected by Google and a panel of local advisors including Judi Gatson, WIS News Anchor; Lou Kennedy, CEO, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp.; Madeleine McGee, President, Together SC; Harris Pastides, President, University of South Carolina.

The grants provided by Google will be used by the local nonprofits in the following ways:

Epworth Children’s Home to provide foster youth with business experience at their Epworth Ice Cream Company. Epworth Children’s Home offers job training, internships, and hands-on entrepreneurial experience to a population segment with historically high rates of unemployment and homelessness. Through the grant, former foster youth will be trained and employed at the Epworth Ice Cream Company, creating a paradigm to generate more career opportunities for them in local small businesses.

Midlands Technical College Foundation to “prioritize academics and career training” (PACT) for young adults in foster care. PACT@MTC runs Career Camps and events to enable foster youth to successfully complete coursework and to offer them guided college and career exploration opportunities with the support of dedicated faculty staff and college coaches. Their goal is to provide access to college early and to enable 130 foster youth to obtain quality careers which provide family-sustainable wages.

Richland Library to level the playing field for entrepreneurs to accelerate economic growth. The Richland Library designed its Entrepreneurial Launch Pad to retain and support dreamers, doers, and makers in our community. It offers a risk-free entrepreneurial hub to emerging small business owners and non-profit start-ups, with a focus on minorities. Besides lending entrepreneurial equipment to participants, the library will also offer an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program as well as scholarship and sponsorship support.

Riverbanks Foundation to train and employ youth to create a talent pipeline for Midlands businesses.

The Midlands Youth Apprenticeship program is a partnership between the Columbia Chamber and Midlands Tech. It will equip high school students with training, on-the-job experience, and certifications while being dually enrolled in high school and Midlands Technical College. By expanding to several schools and reaching hundreds of students over the next few years, the program aims to address the challenge of finding skilled workers for trade-related jobs.

This announcement follows the Grow with Google event hosted in Columbia in May where nearly 1,000 individuals attended a day digital skills training. Through Grow with Google, the company’s aim is to help everyone across America – those who make up the workforce of today, the students who will drive the workforce of tomorrow and the small businesses that keep our economy strong – access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses.

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