“Medically, when someone figured out how to treat it, it seemed like a no-brainer,” Colloredo-Mansfeld said.
She said people are born with clubfoot in the United States, but the availability of treatment makes it a more prominent disease in developing nations.
“For me, this isn’t really about a deep passion I have for feet or for clubfoot, it’s about a passion I have for changing the lives of kids who face terrible prospects,” she said.
In May 2015, Google launched the $20 million program Google Impact Challenges: Disabilities to help expand nonprofit foundations in developing countries.
Shriya Soora, grants manager, handles the research and organization of reaching out to potential supporters of Miraclefeet. She was the driving force behind the initial discovery of the Google grant.
“What I did was search for grants, on Google actually, for disabilities, and I came across an open call for any organization around the world working with treating disabilities,” Soora said.
The next step was developing the proposal.
“Submitting something to Google, we weren’t sure how it was going to work out,” she said.
Two months later, Google responded to her proposal.
“They had clearly gone through all of our website and watched our videos, so I developed a secondary proposal to provide back to them,” Soora said.
Miraclefeet traveled to California to receive a tech award and managed to make time to stop by Google in person and solidify the grant.
“A problem with treating clubfoot is the length of the treatment process,” Lauren Wall, a program manager for Miraclefeet, said. “The timely and repetitive process can often cause problems for the providers and patients.”
Wall said the grant money will be used to develop technology to improve the medical and emotional part of the treatment, with additions such as training modules and SMS systems offering emotional support to patients. The grant will be spread out over three years.
“(The grant) is giving us funding specifically to build systems and to use technology in a way that elevates what we’re doing and makes it more efficient,” Colloredo-Mansfeld said.