Google announced on Tuesday it is donating a quarter of a million dollars through its philanthropic arm for research and assistance funds associated with the Flint, Mich., water crisis.
“It’s a crisis, one to which the American people readily responded by donating water and resources to help alleviate the immediate pain,” said Mike Miller, the head of Google Michigan, in a blog post. “But the problem won’t go away quickly, and understanding its extent is both challenging and an absolute necessity.”
Google.org, the company’s vehicle for philanthropy, will direct a $150,000 donation to researchers at the University of Michigan-Flint to develop a platform for “government and community leaders” to access data related to the crisis. Citizens will also be able to access resources through the product.
The company will also give $100,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint’s Flint Child Health & Development Fund, which provides funding for services for children, including healthcare and early childhood education.
Miller said that the company’s Black Googler Network and other employee groups were looking into additional ways to help. He also said that roughly $35,000 had been donated by Google employees and the company’s contribution matching program to groups providing assistance in Flint.
Google’s donation comes just a day before President Obama visits the city, which has been in the national news for months after it was publically revealed that the city’s drinking water contained toxic levels of lead.
The crisis has led not only to a national conversation about water quality, particularly in low-income and minority communities, but it also put a spotlight on the actions and inaction of state and federal officials when citizens in Flint complained. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has accepted blame for the contamination and its aftermath, though the Environmental Protection Agency has faced criticism for not mitigating the disaster as well.