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YWCA Picked For Finalist In Google $250K Challenge

Dontae speaks
YWCA McLean County President and CEO D. Dontae Latson speaks at a Labyrinth event in 2016.

YWCA McLean County’s program for formerly incarcerated women is one of 10 statewide finalists with a chance to win $250,000 from Google.

The YWCA is a finalist in the Google.org Impact Challenge. The nonprofit is guaranteed at least $75,000 in the contest, which is aimed at creating economic opportunity in Illinois. Public online voting between now and Feb. 14 will determine which of the 10 organizations will receive the full $250,000 top prize.

The YWCA’s Labyrinth program offers transitional housing and services to formerly incarcerated women in McLean County. The YWCA will use the Google money to teach women business skills to help them find a job with a living wage or even start their own business.

“This is a huge deal. We are so excited. This is an opportunity to expand a great program that we already have right here in McLean County. This could grow this program exponentially,” said YWCA McLean County spokesperson Christy Germanis.

Four of the 10 finalists are from downstate Illinois, Germanis noted.

“This is really great opportunity to show our impact to northern Illinois, that central Illinois has a big voice and that we can have a great impact just like they can,” she said.

The public is invited to vote online at g.co/illinoischallenge through Feb. 14. The public voting winner will be announced Feb. 15.

“Google has been proud to call Illinois home for more than a decade, and we are honored to help the ten winning organizations create lasting economic impact throughout the state,” said Karen Sauder, vice president of sales and head of the Chicago office. “We’re looking forward to seeing the Google.org Impact Challenge winners spark new opportunities for Illinoisans for years to come.”

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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