Two Madison organizations collectively received $1.5 million last week from Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic organization led by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

As part of Schmidt Futures’ Alliance for the American Dream competition, a program that invests in solutions that help people move out of poverty and into the middle class, the group awarded first place prize and $1 million to Lift Dane, a project that uses technology to provide legal assistance to people that have committed civil offenses. A second Wisconsin organization, We Care for Dane Kids, won $300,000 for its innovative solutions for childcare affordability.

Both groups also received the audience choice award, which gave each an additional $100,000.

The teams, who are both affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, pitched Schmidt in person last week at an event in New York City.

“It was pretty crazy having Eric Schmidt drill you on Python programming,” said Scott Resnick, one of the Lift Dane team members and the COO of Hardin Design & Development.

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