Google donates $500,000+ in community grants to area nonprofits supporting education initiatives

Projects help bridge digital divide and create hands-on learning opportunities

LENOIR, NC (December 6, 2023) ⇒ As part of its annual Data Center Community Grants Program, Google announced more than $532,000 in new grants today to eight area non-profit organizations and five groups with local programs to support education and community skills training initiatives.

The Data Center Community Grants Program supports eligible organizations and initiatives directly impacting the immediate community surrounding a Google data center. The grants are awarded to nonprofits working on issues like STEM education, efforts to bridge the digital divide, sustainability, efforts to strengthen the startup or small business ecosystem, and more.

Collectively, the projects supported by this year’s grants will enable these local nonprofits to serve hundreds of thousands of community members through educational programming. This year’s grant recipients and projects include:

Caldwell County Schools: This grant will help to remake middle and high school instruction of science, emphasizing hands-on learning experiences. In 2021, the district converted a retired school bus into a mobile science lab, aiming to bridge learning gaps exacerbated by COVID-19. The funds will further equip teachers to restore interactive, inquiry-based science instruction.

Caldwell County Schools: This grant will help to generate awareness and excitement among students about pursuing careers in skilled trades and provide a more immersive way for students to learn such trades through virtual and augmented reality.

Shelter Home of Caldwell County, Inc.: This grant will assist individuals and/or families leaving situations of domestic violence to become self-sufficient through a variety of programs emphasizing everyday living and employment skills as well as on site counseling services.

Impact Club Rotary of the Foothills: This grant will support Camp Enterprise, a free, three-day learning opportunity for high school students focused on collaboration and structured around innovation and excellence. Students learn how to submit a business plan and appropriately pitch and market the plan.

Communities In Schools of Caldwell County: This grant will support the development of soft skills among students. These interpersonal attributes or people skills include how to communicate with others, analyze situations and make informed decisions, conflict management, teamwork and a strong work ethic. All through hands-on activities.

Downtown Lenoir Development Alliance: This grant will help promote a vibrant downtown center of artistic, cultural, and civic dynamism while encouraging vital commercial activity. Downtown Lenoir is a growing destination for art and entertainment—hosting over 100 businesses, including renowned restaurants, breweries/meaderies and artists as well as a growing residential population.

Helping Hands Clinic Community: This grant will support the Health Navigator Initiative, which helps people overcome barriers to health care services such as disability benefits, Medicaid, substance abuse and mental health treatment and long-term care placement. This will include the implementation of a helpline for call-in assistance.

American Whitewater: This grant will support a real-time gage to measure and report the water level of Wild and Scenic Wilson Creek, located 12.5 miles from Lenoir, NC. The stream gauge informs thousands of diverse recreationists about the quality and safety of swimming, fishing, paddling, or just playing in the water on any given day.

Caldwell Arts Council General Support: This grant will support the expansion of the “Art with HeArt” initiative after a two-year postponement due to the pandemic. Classes in music, art and more are offered to U.S. veterans and senior citizens.

NC Science Festival: This grant will support the general operations of the festival which celebrates the educational, cultural, and financial impact of science in North Carolina.

Center on Rural Innovation: Thís grant will support the Caldwell County Rural Innovation Initiative.

Caldwell County Career & Technical Institute – CCC&TI: This grant will support CCC&TI’s Minority Outreach program.

North Carolina Center for Nonprofits: This grant will support organizations committed to racial justice & access to resources for nonprofits across Caldwell County.

“The nonprofit community in Caldwell County is working every day to address barriers to economic opportunity like bridging the digital divide, encouraging STEM learning and strengthening our tech economy and infrastructure,” said Amber Tillman, Public Affairs Manager at Google. “Here at Google, we are inspired by the creative solutions submitted to our grant program, and we are proud to partner with our neighboring nonprofits to help make a difference in our community.”

Since breaking ground on its Lenoir data center in 2006, Google has invested more than $1.2 billion in North Carolina, provided more than $17 million in grants to an array of nonprofits and organizations, and put nearly $340 million into renewable energy infrastructure. Google employs hundreds of people at its Lenoir/Caldwell County facilities and hundreds more in other parts of the state.

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