Google donates $250,000 for technology to aid Flint water crisis recovery
In response to the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Google.org, the company's charitable arm, is donating $250,000 to provide technical resources to help resolve the water issues now and in the future.
A portion of the donation, $150,000, will establish a grant at the University of Michigan-Flint for a data platform meant to educate government and leaders in the community, helping them make better informed decisions about handling the crisis, officials say. The platform will also act as a tool to inform citizens of critical information.
"Access to clean drinking water is a concern all over the world, but in the United States it’s often a foregone conclusion," Mike Miller, head of Google's Ann Arbor, Michigan office, wrote in a blog post. "That is not the case recently for the residents of Flint, Michigan.
"It’s a crisis, one to which the American people readily responded by donating water and resources to help alleviate the immediate pain," he added. "But the problem won’t go away quickly and understanding its extent is both challenging and an absolute necessity."
The donation will support student researchers at the Flint and Ann Arbor campuses of University of Michigan, which will be led by professors Mark Allison and Jake Abernathy, respectively. Together they’ll develop an app and platform that visualizes data and allows citizens to find key services, such as the ability to report concerns about the water.
The group will also answer crucial questions about the crisis and response, according to Google. Volunteers from Google will mentor and assist with the product design and technology.
The other $100,000 is designated to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint for the Flint Child Health & Development Fund, which focuses on the long-term health of Flint families and children from newborns to 6-year-olds. The fund also supports childcare-related initiatives, like education, student support services and continuous access to pediatric healthcare.
"With Google offices in Ann Arbor and Birmingham, Flint and its residents are also our neighbors," Miller said. "As a native Michigander, I'm proud that we can help our neighbors in Flint. We hope we can support a resolution to this crisis and assist the residents of Flint in getting the resources they need and deserve, both for the short and long term."