Google has given an update on what its Google Foundation is doing. The charitable group, promised as part of its IPO, has been funded initially with $90 million and has already made donations to a fund to fight global poverty, another to help small businesses in developing countries and research to prevent child deaths by poor water quality, among others.
Unfortunately, the Google Foundation site at Google.org site still says it will be the "future site" as it has since April and lacks any helpful information, not even a link at least to the Google Grants program that Google itself (as opposed to the Google Foundation) manages. So Google gets some nice buzz and headlines on how it is giving, but anyone heading over to the foundation site itself finds nothing about applying for help. Heck, the foundation site doesn't even link over to the Google Blog post that has current news about the foundation.
Google Starts Up Philanthropy Campaign from the Washington Post covers how another $900 million in stock is being set aside for the foundation and how using the foundation to give will allow Google greater flexibility on what it wants to fund.
A representative of a Google shareholders group asks if Google should be doing this at all. Since Google said they would create and give to the foundation as part of the IPO, you'd think the shareholders would have known this before buying. The representative acknowledges this fact but still worries about confusion between personal and corporate assets.
The rep also questions whether company founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page should be making donations similar to how Microsoft's Bill Gates does through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Yeah, I think anyone would expect multi-billionaires to be doing some charitable giving of their own. Then again, a little perspective is in order. Since the two have been multi-billionaires for only about a year, I'm sure we'll see them doing such giving over time. The Gates Foundation was started in 2000, though it had predecessors -- but I don't know that either of those predecessors came immediately after Gates made it big. Overall, we'll see.