An Innovative Partnership

As you might expect from its history of innovation, when Google looks for volunteer opportunities for its employees, it seeks out organizations where Googlers can use their unique skills to make a real community impact.

In early 2015, Google and Hands On Bay Area, a group that helps facilitate corporate volunteerism, approached Abode Services about setting up just such an opportunity.

Abode Services had been referred to this Google team by Justin Steele of Google.org, the corporation’s philanthropic arm. Justin had learned of Abode Services through our programs in Santa Clara County, and thought our work might be of interest to Google volunteers.

This partnership began with a program called Google Reach Local, which sends Google employees to nonprofits each quarter for a week of intensive work. Employees select the organization they want to help, as well as a project they wish to focus on during their week of service. In our case, Google employees helped Abode Services research information about micro-homes and the possibility that such a project could work in the Bay Area.

Their research provided us with comprehensive information about micro-homes, and laid the groundwork for additional partnerships. Within weeks of the initial project, another team of Google volunteers came for a painting project at Sunrise Village, our emergency shelter in Fremont. Abode Services also signed up for the Google Corps program, through which Google employees will provide our staff with trainings on Google’s web tools.  

This partnership has allowed Google to provide its employees with unique volunteering experiences and make a real impact on the larger Bay Area community.

“Working with Abode was an eye-opening experience,” said Amy Sunderman, a Google Reach Local volunteer. “The amount of success the organization has in ending homelessness gave me faith that we were partnering with the right group to make a change.”

Abode Services recently became a grantee of Google.org, which made a $500,000 contribution to Project Welcome Home, a new Santa Clara County-based program led by Abode Services that will re-house up to 200 chronically homeless individuals. This “Pay for Success” program is the first social impact bond program in the country to address chronic homelessness, and is an exciting demonstration of how the Bay Area’s business, philanthropic, and government sectors can collaborate to make our community a better place for all residents.

For more information about Google’s philanthropic efforts, please visit google.org

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