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Google grants biased, report says

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Google’s grants program favors nonprofits run by whites and Asians, in effect is raising ad prices for African-American and Hispanic nonprofits, a new report says.

Over the past three years, Google has given away $300 million worth of free advertising on its site, says the report from TechMission, an association of Black and Latino-led nonprofits addressing the digital divide.

That $300 million in advertising grants is used by recipient nonprofits to bid on specific search terms related to their organizations and missions.

This practice has “flooded the market” for nonprofit ads with virtual dollars, the report says, forcing nonprofits that do not receive grants to pay more for search terms.

TechMission estimates 95 percent of Google Grants recipients are nonprofits led by whites or Asians, and only five percent are led by African-Americans or Hispanics.

This disparity means minority-led groups pay a “tax” because they pay “increased advertising fees to provide a subsidy to white-led nonprofits.”

Google favors white and Asian-led nonprofits because its staff who make grant decisions are “disproportionately white and Asian and from elite schools,” the report says.

Google also has restrictions on funding faith-based groups, TechMission says, a policy it says halves the chance for nonprofits led by African-Americans and Latinos to receive grants.

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