October 19th, 2021
Google’s work to address broad societal issues, such as climate change and digital skilling, focuses on creating solutions that are scalable and replicable by others. We believe solutions to global issues are most effective when the private sector, governments, nonprofits, and academia come together to reinforce each other’s efforts. At Google, we focus on where we can best contribute to helping make those efforts successful.
One example of this is the approach we have taken with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). At the beginning of the pandemic, we announced the creation of the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and committed $130 million in loans and grants. Our shared goal with OFN is to help CDFIs and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the United States access funding they need to grow. The more than 30 million small businesses in the U.S. are the backbone of the economy and employ nearly half of the private workforce. Importantly, CDFIs focus on SMBs often overlooked by traditional lenders, serving people of color, those with low income, SMBs in rural areas, and women. We subsequently increased our commitment and allocated an additional $50 million to support SMBs in the Black community. We were motivated by our conviction that economic growth is sustainable only if it is truly inclusive.
Today, I spoke at OFN’s annual conference and was proud to share that Google has, to date, placed more than 90% of our $180 million commitment. In addition, I announced a new $5 million Google.org grant to OFN to help CDFIs use technologies that support their small business lending, allowing them to scale and innovate as they work to meet the needs of the communities they serve.
We are excited about the work that we have led with OFN to help small businesses in overlooked communities, but we recognize that we are just one piece of a much larger puzzle. As is true with a lot of our work, our greatest impact lies in motivating others to join us, and we are proud that several other companies have made commitments to OFN and the CDFI ecosystem over the past year. We look forward to working alongside even more companies in the future and are hopeful that others will see this momentum and be inspired by it as we are.