June 17th, 2020
Editor’s Note: CEO Sundar Pichai sent the following note to the company today.
Over the past several weeks, violent and racist attacks against the Black community have forced the world to reckon with the structural and systemic racism that Black people have experienced over generations. My own search for answers started within our own walls. Listening to the personal accounts of members of our Black Leadership Advisory Group and our Black+ Googlers has only reinforced for me the reality our Black communities face: one where systemic racism permeates every aspect of life, from interactions with law enforcement, to access to housing and capital, to health care, education, and the workplace.
As a company, and as individuals who came here to build helpful products for everyone, Google commits to translating the energy of this moment into lasting, meaningful change. Today we are announcing a set of concrete commitments to move that work forward: internally, to build sustainable equity for Google’s Black+ community, and externally, to make our products and programs helpful in the moments that matter most to Black users.
Building sustainable equity
Creating meaningful change starts within our own company. Strengthening our commitment to racial equity and inclusion will help Google build more helpful products for our users and the world. To that end, we’re announcing several commitments to build sustainable equity for our Black+ community.
First, we’re working to improve Black+ representation at senior levels and committing to a goal to improve leadership representation of underrepresented groups by 30 percent by 2025. To help achieve this, we’ll post senior leadership roles externally as well as internally, and increase our investments in places such as Atlanta, Washington DC, Chicago, and London, where we already have offices. We’ll take the same approach across regions, using the site and country-specific plans to recruit and hire more underrepresented Googlers in communities where the social infrastructure already supports a sense of belonging and contributes to a better quality of life.
Second, we’ll do more to address representation challenges and focus on hiring, retention, and promotion at all levels. To help direct that work, I’m establishing a new talent liaison within each product and functional area to mentor and advocate for the progression and retention of Googlers from underrepresented groups. I’m also convening a task force, including senior members of the Black+ community at Google, to develop concrete recommendations and proposals for accountability across all of the areas that affect the Black+ Googler experience, from recruiting and hiring, to performance management, to career progression and retention. I’ve asked the task force to come back with specific proposals (including measurable goals) within 90 days.
Third, we’re working to create a stronger sense of inclusion and belonging for Googlers in general and our Black+ community in particular. Our internal research shows that feelings of belonging are driven by many aspects of our experiences at work, including the psychological safety we feel among our teams, the support of our managers and leaders, equitable people processes, and opportunities to grow and develop our careers. Across all of these dimensions, we’re committed to building more inclusive practices and policies—and revisiting them when we don’t get them right.
As one example, we’ve had a security practice of Googlers watching for “tailgaters” in order to reduce instances of unauthorized visitors in offices. We have realized this process is susceptible to bias. So, over the past year, our Global Security and Resilience team partnering with a cross-functional working group, conducted extensive research, listened to Black Googlers’ experiences, and developed and tested new security procedures to ensure we could maintain the safety and security of the Google community without relying on this type of enforcement. Now, as we prepare to return to the office, we will end the practice of Googlers badge-checking each other and rely on our already robust security infrastructure.
Fourth, we’ll establish a range of anti-racism educational programs that are global in view and able to scale to all Googlers.We’ll be welcoming external experts into Google to share their expertise on the racial history and structural inequities, and start conversations on education, allyship, and self-reflection. And this week we’ve begun piloting a new, multi-series training for Googlers of all levels that explores systemic racism and racial consciousness, to help develop stronger awareness and capacity for creating spaces where everyone feels they belong. We plan to roll out this training globally by early next year. We’ll also integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into our mandatory manager training.
Fifth, we’re focused on better supporting the mental and physical health and well-being of our Black+ community. For example, over the past year, we’ve worked with our mental health provider in the U.S., to increase their Black network of counselors. Our global EAP providers are also working to further diversify their network of counselors. Over the next 90 days, our Benefits team will work with the Equity Project Management Office and Black Leadership Advisory Group to identify areas where we could expand our benefits or provide additional support to Googlers and their families. As one example of the kinds of programs that work: we’ve made the medical second opinion service available to Googlers’ extended family—something that our Black+ community told us was important to supporting a family structure that includes siblings, parents, parents-in-law and grandparents.
Building products for change
Turning to our external announcements, we want to create products and programs that help Black users in the moments that matter most. Two weeks ago, I put out a call for ideas, and Googlers from all over the world have submitted more than 500 suggestions. We’ve assembled a product task force to prioritize and implement these ideas in partnership with our Black Leadership Advisory Group and members of our Black Googler Network.
Some activations have already launched, including the Assistant’s responses to questions related to Black Lives Matter and—as of this week—Juneteenth. We’re also working quickly to give merchants in the U.S. the option of adding a “Black-owned” business attribute to their Business Profile on Google to help people find and support Black-owned local businesses by using Search and Maps. This opt-in feature is in development and will roll out to Business Profiles in the coming weeks.
Creating products for everyone is a core principle at Google, so our product teams will work to ensure that all users, and particularly Black users, see themselves reflected in our products. In addition, building on YouTube’s announcement last week, our Trust and Safety team will work to strengthen our product policies against hate and harassment.
Helping create economic opportunity
Beyond our products, we know that racial equity is inextricably linked to economic opportunity. So today we are announcing a $175 million+ economic opportunity package to support Black business owners, startup founders, job seekers, and developers, in addition to YouTube’s $100 million funds to amplify Black creators and artists. This new commitment includes:
- $50 million in financing and grants for small businesses, focused on the Black community and in partnership with Opportunity Finance Network. This commitment builds on our recent $125 million Grow with Google Small Business Fund that is helping underserved minority and women-owned small businesses across the U.S.
- $100 million in funding participation in Black-led capital firms, startups and organizations supporting Black entrepreneurs, including increased investments in Plexo Capital and non-dilutive funding to Black founders in the Google for Startups network.
- $15 million in training, through partners like the National Urban League, to help Black job seekers grow their skills.
- $10 million+ to help improve the Black community’s access to education, equipment and economic opportunities in our developer ecosystem, and increase equity, representation, and inclusion across our developer platforms, including Android, Chrome, Flutter, Firebase, Google Play and more.
Mentorship is also critical to growing networks and successful businesses. Today, we are launching our Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders, a three-month digital accelerator program for high potential Seed to Series A startups and announcing an expansion of our Digital Coaches program to 8 new cities, including Memphis, Birmingham, and Cleveland, to provide 50K Black-owned businesses in the U.S. with the mentorship, networking and training they need to grow.
We’re also committing nearly $3 million to help close the racial equity gaps in computer science education and increase Black+ representation in STEM fields. This starts with making sure Black students have access to opportunities early on in their education. To that end, we’re expanding our CS First curriculum to 7,000 more teachers who reach 100,000+ Black students, scaling our Applied Digital Skills program to reach 400,000 Black middle and high school students, and making a $1 million Google.org grant to the DonorsChoose #ISeeMe campaign, to help teachers access materials to make their classrooms more inclusive.
Beyond the classroom, we’re increasing our exploreCSR awards to 16 more universities to address racial gaps in CS research & academia, and we’re also supporting Black in AI with $250,000 to help increase Black representation in the field of AI.
These efforts build on our other education initiatives, including CodeNext, focused on cultivating the next generation of Black and Latinx tech leaders, and TechExchange, which partners with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs) to bring students to Google’s campus for four months to learn about topics from product management to machine learning.
Supporting racial justice organizations
We also continue to support organizations working to advance criminal justice reform. Earlier this month, Google.org pledged another $12 million, in addition to the $32 million we’ve already contributed since the Charleston shooting five years ago today. We’re announcing the next round of grants—at $1 million each—to the Leadership Conference Education Fund, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Policing Reform Campaign and the Movement for Black Lives. We’ve also created a public donation page to help raise even more for organizations fighting against racism and inequality. Recognizing that racism is a problem the world over, looking ahead, we will focus on more global solutions and will be giving grants to local community organizations tackling these issues in Brazil, and across Europe and Africa.
Let me close by simply saying thank you to the many Googlers who have come together to drive these efforts. That includes our Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker and the Employee Engagement team, our Equity Project Management Office working in partnership with our Black Leadership Advisory Group and members of our Black Googler Network, and everyone who has stepped up with ideas on how we can build a better workplace, and, in turn, better products for the world.