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Google giving $250K grant to Oklahoma City’s economic innovators

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Thanks to Google, $250,000 will soon be in the hands of some of Oklahoma City's greatest economic innovators.

Through the 'Google Impact Challenge,' a panel of judges that included Sam Presti of the Thunder and Mayor-Elect David Holt selected four local non-profits who will receive $50,000 each to continue their work in the community.

This is only the second time Google has ever held a challenge of this sort. When News 4 asked "Why Oklahoma City?" they said "Why not?"

"Google sees just an innovative spirit here, and really wants to tap into that, and support it and create economic opportunity here for the people who live here," said Andrew Silvestri of Google.

More than 50 non-profit organizations applied for the Google Impact Challenge. Local leaders who had to narrow that list down to four said that was no easy task.

"It's one long spectrum of art, of creation and ingenuity," Presti said. "I think Oklahoma City has a deep wealth of people that are waiting to contribute to that."

One winner was the Homeless Alliance.

"They have barriers that they are facing," said Rayna O'Connor. "They have challenges, but we really come alongside these individuals and help them break down barriers."

They will use the money to expand their print magazine, 'The Curbisde Chronicle.'

Sunbeam Family Services will also get 50 grand, along with the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City and ReMerge of Oklahoma County. That is an organization that helps newly-released inmates find jobs.

"Really what it's going to do for us is allow us to identify more second-chance employers in the community who are willing to hire individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system," said Terri Woodland. "So, we're very excited about that."

This is all money Holt said will add value as the organizations continue to help our community.

"They fill a need that we desperately have, especially with what's going on at the state," Holt said.

Now, one of the four winners has a chance to get an additional $50,000. They're asking for the public to vote, which you can do here. Voting closes April 6.

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