In February, we reported that filmmakers, actors, political activists and other influencers came out for campaigns in support of residents of Flint, Michigan who are dealing with the worst water crisis in recent history.
And today, President Barack Obama is headed to Flint to hear from city residents about the water crisis, receive an in-person briefing on federal efforts in response to the situation, and give an address to community members.
Now, tech giant Google is lending a generous show of support as well – $250,000 worth.
Today Google. com is providing $250,000 in grant funding to partners in the Flint community to help resolve the crisis, with a special focus on using data and technology to better understand the impact from the contamination levels and provide information to its citizens,” announced Mike Miller, Head of Google Michigan.
First, Google made a $150,000 grant to the University of Michigan-Flint to enable the University of Michigan-Flint to develop a comprehensive data platform that will assist government and community leaders in making more informed decisions about the crisis and providing critical information to citizens. The funds will support student researchers at the University of Michigan, Flint and Ann Arbor campuses, to do this work under the leadership of Professors Mark Allison (Flint) and Jake Abernathy (Ann Arbor) to answer key questions about the crisis and response, such as the probability of lead levels before they are tested. The team plans to develop a platform and app that visualizes the data and also provides the ability for citizens to seek out and request key services, such as reporting concerns about water and requesting testing kits. Google volunteers will provide guidance and mentoring on the technology and product design.
This investment by Google is an outstanding commitment to our community, shares Chancellor Susan E. Borrego of the University of Michigan-Flint. It creates an ideal combination of an industry powerhouse with faculty expertise. It will create new opportunities for students and continue building community partnerships all so that we can provide quick and critically important information and analysis for our community as we move forward.”