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Google launches program to help people with disabilities

Google is giving $20 million in grants to nonprofits that help people living with disabilities

Google has launched a program to help people living with disabilities.

The company is putting $20 million in Google.org grants behind nonprofits that use emerging technologies to increase independence for people living with disabilities.

And it wants your help: Google is issuing an open call to identify new areas of opportunity.

"The Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities will seek out nonprofits and help them find new solutions to some serious 'what ifs' for the disabled community," the company said. "We will choose the best of these ideas and help them to scale by investing in their vision, by rallying our people and by mobilizing our resources."

The Mountain View company said it was kicking things off by supporting two organizations:

It is giving a $600,000 grant to the the Enable community, which connects people who need prosthetics with volunteers who use 3-D printers to design, print, assemble and fit them for free.

It is also giving a $500,000 grant to World Wide Hearing, which will develop, prototype and test an "extremely low-cost" tool kit for hearing loss using smartphone technology that’s widely available in the developing world.

"Each of these organizations is using technology to dramatically reduce the cost of and access to prosthetic limbs and auditory therapy, respectively, which could be transformative for hundreds of millions of people," Google said.

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