Tech giant Apple has announced initiatives totaling at least $60 million aimed at dismantling systemic barriers to opportunity and combating injustices faced by communities of color.
Part of a $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) announced by the company last summer, the commitments include $25 million to establish the Propel Center, a first-of-its-kind global innovation and learning hub for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Apple CEO, Tim Cook said, “We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment. We’re launching REJI’s latest initiatives with partners across a broad range of industries and backgrounds — from students to teachers, developers to entrepreneurs, and community organizers to justice advocates — working together to empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for far too long. We are honored to help bring this vision to bear, and to match our words and actions to the values of equity and inclusion we have always prized at Apple.”
Leveraging the efforts of a virtual platform, a physical campus at the Atlanta University Center, and on-campus programs at partner institutions, the center will provide curricula, career opportunities, fellowships, and technology support in fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, agriculture, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creative arts, and entrepreneurship.
In addition, the company has announced the launch of new Innovation Grants and Faculty Fellows programs in support of HBCU colleges of engineering and educators nd will offer a hundred new Apple Scholarships through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
The company also will open an Apple Developer Academy in Detroitthat offers a thirty-day introductory program to software development as well as an intensive ten- to twelve-month program designed to help aspiring developers build the skills needed to participate in the iOS app economy and start their own businesses.
In addition, the company announced investments in two projects aimed at providing access to capital for minority-owned businesses — $10 million in New York City-based venture capital firm Harlem Capital, which will invest in a thousand entrepreneurs over twenty years; and $25 million in Siebert Williams Shank’s Clear Vision Impact Fund, which provides capital to small and midsize businesses, with an emphasis on minority-owned companies.
And Apple is making a contribution to the King Center in Atlanta in support of efforts to share Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s teachings and inspire new generations to continue the work of racial justice and social change.