Greetings from the Great Lakes State

Thursday, February 19, 2009 | 1:01 PM


When I joined the Google Ann Arbor office more than a year and a half ago, our office’s opening was viewed by many as a ray of light during a bleak time for the state of Michigan. While this seems a familiar story now, at the time Michigan's unemployment rate was becoming a big problem as the Automakers fell into hard times and began laying off employees. I had high hopes, like many Michigan natives, about what Google Ann Arbor would mean for the place that I call home. Since joining Google Ann Arbor, I have not been disappointed by the my team's unique spirit.

From tearing down abandoned houses in Detroit with Blight Busters to constructing sculptures from donated canned goods for SOS Community Services, our office has shown a strong commitment to making Michigan, and the world, a better place. My first foray into the volunteer spirit that drives our office was with Google Grants. In part enticed by the promise of free pizza on Google Grants optimization nights, with time I found myself becoming more and more involved with the program.

Like many of the Michigan natives that work at Google Ann Arbor, I have personal ties to the non-profit community. My mother has worked for local non-profits throughout her life, and my sister is currently employed by an education based 501(c)(3) organization. Through their eyes, I understand the impact and value of our extra hours spent building Google Grants accounts and processing applications.

Especially now, when times are tough, I take away great meaning from volunteering with Google Grants. Although our office also supports grantees outside of Michigan, Ann Arbor volunteers have shown a community spirit that I find moving in a time of overwhelming concerns. Through the outreach efforts of our leaders and the commitment of tireless volunteers, Ann Arbor activated more than 700 Grantee accounts in 2008. In spite of the challenges we all face, I know that our team and the non-profits that we work with will persevere, making our 2009 accomplishments even greater.