Web search firm Google - whose motto is "don't be evil" - is setting up a subsidiary dedicated to doing good.
Google is committed to giving away some of its money
Its new philanthropic division, named Google.org, will fund social investment projects in the developing world.
Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are devoting 1% of Google's stock and profits - almost $1bn (£573m) - to the new charitable venture.
The first beneficiaries include projects to improve water supplies in rural Africa and anti-poverty works.
The charity is the outcome of a pledge made by the California-based company at the time of its initial stock market flotation last year.
Mr Page and Mr Brin said they would set up a Google Foundation to do "good things for the world".
The foundation will start with an initial endowment of about $90m (£51.5m).
In addition, a further $175m will be invested outside the foundation over the next three years, with the aim of aiding "socially progressive" private companies as well as non-profit organisations.
Among the first causes to benefit are:
- The Acumen Fund, which will receive $5m to fund anti-poverty and healthcare schemes in the developing world
- A research project in Kenya run by economists from Harvard University and the University of California, which will get $400,000 for efforts to improve rural water quality
- US-based organisation Technoserve will get $500,000 for a competition to find and fund business start-ups in Ghana.
Google's vice-president of operations and advertising Sheryl Sandberg - who is in charge of Google.org - said the company wanted to provide sustainable solutions to the problems of poverty, energy and the environment.
"It's not a lot of money in the face of the world's problems, so we want to make sure to get the most out of it," she said.