Google philanthropy arm teams up with national racial justice group

Google philanthropy arm teams up with national racial justice group

Google’s philanthropic arm will work with the the racial justice organization founded by acclaimed lawyer Bryan Stevenson, the company said Thursday night.

USA Today reported the announcement that Google.org, the company’s philanthropy arm, will give $1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) and lend its expertise to making the organization’s educational materials available online.

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"Our mission statement is universal access to information and knowledge for everyone. I think what's exciting about what EJI is doing is that at a national level it is really trying to tell the untold history around race in this country and help people develop a deeper understanding for the narrative around race and how we have gotten to where we are,” Justin Steele, who leads the efforts for Google.org, told the newspaper.

It marks the company’s first foray into supporting national racial justice groups. Last year, it gave millions in grants to groups working on issues related to race in the San Francisco Bay Area. It announced more gifts to Bay Area groups on Thursday, along with the Equal Justice Initiative grant.

The Equal Justice Initiative provides legal help to people considered to be treated unfairly by the criminal justice system, including people wrongfully accused of crimes. The group also engages in the larger policy debates around the criminal justice system.

Stevenson, a Harvard Law School graduate, received a MacArthur Foundation fellowship — known as the “genius” grant — in 1995. He also authored a best-selling book published in 2014.

- Updated at 2:33 p.m.