Apple announces new projects as part of $100 million ‘Racial Equity and Justice Initiative’

Apple today announced a set of new projects toward its $100 million “Racial Equity and Justice Initiative” (REJI) to help “dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of color,” the company said in a statement.

As part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative commitment, Apple is supporting the launch of the Propel Center (rendering above), an innovation hub for the entire HBCU community that will provide curriculum, internships, and mentorship opportunities.
As part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative commitment, Apple is supporting the launch of the Propel Center (rendering above), an innovation hub for the entire HBCU community that will provide curriculum, internships, and mentorship opportunities.

These new projectss include the Propel Center, a first-of-its-kind global innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), an Apple Developer Academy to support coding and tech education for students in Detroit, and venture capital funding for black and brown entrepreneurs. Together, Apple’s REJI commitments aim to expand opportunities for communities of color across the country and to help build the next generation of diverse leaders.

“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,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. “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.”

The initiative is led by Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson. REJI complements Apple’s internal efforts to improve diversity and inclusion at every level of the company.

“Every individual deserves equal access to opportunity regardless of skin color or zip code,” said Jackson in a statement. “For too long, communities of color have faced gross injustices and institutional barriers to their pursuit of the American dream, and we are proud to lend our voices and resources to build new engines of opportunity that empower, inspire, and create meaningful change.”

Apple is working with Southern Company and a range of community stakeholders to support the launch of the Propel Center, a first-of-its-kind innovation and learning hub for the HBCU community. Apple’s $25 million contribution will enable the Propel Center to support HBCU students and faculty through a robust virtual platform, a physical campus in the historic Atlanta University Center, as well as on-campus activations at partner institutions.

The center is designed to support the next generation of diverse leaders, providing innovative curricula, technology support, career opportunities, and fellowship programs. The Propel Center will offer a wide range of educational tracks, including AI and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creative arts, career preparation, and entrepreneurship. Experts from Apple will help develop curricula and provide ongoing mentorship and learning support, along with offering internship opportunities.

The Propel Center was imagined and designed by Ed Farm, a groundbreaking organization that works to promote innovation and educational equity. The initiative builds upon Apple’s partnership with Ed Farm and the company’s work with three dozen HBCUs, bringing coding, creativity, and career opportunities to campuses and communities across the US.

The Propel Center campus (rendering above) — equipped with state-of-the-art lecture halls, learning labs, and on-site living for a scholars-in-residence program — will be located in the historic Atlanta University Center district.
The Propel Center campus (rendering above) — equipped with state-of-the-art lecture halls, learning labs, and on-site living for a scholars-in-residence program — will be located in the historic Atlanta University Center district.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Apple on this extraordinary project,” said Anthony Oni, Ed Farm’s founder and chairman of the board, and a vice president at Southern Company, in a statement. “The Propel Center will help cultivate leadership and drive innovation in tech and beyond, acting as a springboard for change in communities across America.”

As part of Apple’s ongoing partnerships with HBCUs, the company is also establishing two new grants to support HBCU engineering programs. Apple’s new Innovation Grants will help HBCU Colleges of Engineering develop their silicon and hardware engineering curriculum in partnership with Apple’s experts. The new Faculty Fellows Program will support HBCU educators pursuing R&D with mentorship programs, curriculum development assistance, and funds to equip their lab spaces.

Building on its longstanding scholarship program with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Apple is also now offering scholarships to 100 new Apple Scholars from underrepresented communities. In addition to financial support, the Apple Scholars program includes mentorship and career development experience at Apple.

Apple’s First US Developer Academy to Open in Downtown Detroit

Later this year, Apple will open an Apple Developer Academy in Detroit — the first of its kind in the US. There are over 50,000black-owned businesses in Detroit, according to US Census data. The academy is designed to empower young black entrepreneurs, creators, and coders, helping them cultivate the skills necessary for jobs in the rapidly growing iOS app economy. Launched in collaboration with Michigan State University, Apple Developer Academy courses will be open to all learners across Detroit, regardless of their academic background or whether they have any previous coding experience.

The Apple Developer Academy will offer two programs in Detroit. A 30-day introductory program is designed for learners who are considering app economy careers and looking to better understand what it means to be a developer. The full academy program is an intensive 10- to 12-month program that will help aspiring developers build the skills needed to participate in the iOS app economy, and even start their own businesses. Apple expects the academy’s programming to reach close to 1,000 students each year with a curriculum that covers coding, design, marketing, and professional skills.

And next month, Apple will host the inaugural cohort of its “Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers” for a virtual experience, offering one-on-one code-level guidance from Apple experts and engineers, as well as mentorship, inspiration, and insights from top Apple leaders.

New Funding Partnerships

Apple is today announcing two new investments in the venture capital and banking spaces, with both projects designed to provide capital to minority-owned businesses. The company will invest $10 million with Harlem Capital — an early-stage venture capital firm based in New York — to support its investments in 1,000 companies with diverse founders over the next 20 years. In addition to providing capital to entrepreneurs of color, Harlem Capital will also lend its expertise to Apple’s broader efforts to advance access to economic opportunity. The firm will offer guidance and mentorship to students at the Detroit Developer Academy and participants in Apple’s “Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers.” Apple will also support Harlem Capital’s internship program, focused on opening doors for aspiring women and minority investors.

The company will also invest $25 million in Siebert Williams Shank’s “Clear Vision Impact Fund,” which provides capital to small and medium-size businesses, with an emphasis on minority-owned companies. The fund looks to support businesses that operate in or serve underserved markets, and that foster inclusive growth initiatives.

Contributing to Community Organizations

As part of its REJI work, Apple continues to build on its contributions toward community colleges, nonprofit advocates, and local organizations working to empower and expand opportunity for the next generation.

Apple is making a contribution to The King Center, a living memorial to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to share his teachings and inspire new generations to carry forward his unfinished work. Next week, Dr. King’s daughter and the CEO of The King Center, Dr. Bernice A. King, will issue a call to action encouraging young people to give back to their communities as part of Apple’s “Challenge for Change” series — a set of conversation guides and learning-based challenges on issues related to race and racial equality.

Apple’s contribution to The King Center adds to the company’s previous donations to nonprofit organizations that advance equity and justice, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.

MacDailyNews Note: In June, Apple CEO Tim Cook pledged to donate $100 million to organizations dedicated to racial equity and social justice causes of which these new initiatives and contributions are a part.

Find out more about, and see many more renderings of, the Propel Center here: propelcenter.org.

79 Comments

  1. Can’t wait until peaceful CCP comrades burn down Apple’s new “learning center” for the Uighur in China. That will be truly iRONIC!

    Can’t wait until peaceful protesters burn down Apple’s new “learning center” in Atlanta. That will be truly iRONIC!

  2. How can we really blame Cook?

    He’s bought into the socialist mindset that requires dividing and labelling people into little groups. Once people are divided into little groups, the Democrats can argue each little group has been disadvantaged in some way. But, of course you have to have a villain (and I think we all know who that’s been for 5 years). Now, the villain will be people who happen to have been born (by no choice of their own) with light colored skin.

    I appreciate Tim as a CEO due in large part to my stock portfolio with Apple. But, I’m concerned to see Apple dumping money into pet projects that are essentially targeted at these little groups of people rather an Americans as a whole.

    1. When they founded Apple, the Two Steves made it perfectly clear that they were not promoting technology as an end in itself but as a tool for social change. They made it clear that they were not in it for the money, but “to make a positive difference in society.” Their values are not a secret. Some version of the Apple Values statement has been on the public record since 1981. Every employee is briefed on them prior to hiring. Every stockholder should be aware of them before he sinks his money into the company.

      So, nobody should claim to be surprised when Tim Cook acts in compliance with forty years of company policy. If you cannot tolerate those policies, your only choices are either to buy a controlling interest in Apple or to sell your minority stake and stop doing business with the company. Apple’s leaders—whether Cook or anybody else—are not going to change as long as the stockholders, employees, customers, and other stakeholders support the founders’ vision.

      1. Steve Jobs never promoted a Marxist and racist hate group like Black Lives Matter, which advocates killing cops. Steve Jobs never promoted censorship. Except of pornography, which he never sold, but which Apple TV is now dabbling in, along with massive sales of racist and degenerate rap music which Apple happily sells in its Apple Music app. Steve Jobs loved America. Tim Cook hates America.

  3. I hope that it’s not a mostly vocational training school rather than also having a philosophical, critical thinking component because that would have abandoned Steve Jobs’ premise of “The intersection of liberal arts and technology.”

  4. Tim, here’s a suggestion – The Motor City Project. Announce that the Apple Car will be developed and built inside the city limits of Detroit. Current Apple Car and Car Play employees will be transferred to Detroit. Local residents will be trained by Apple for all positions. Any Apple corporate employee receiving stock options will be required to go on mission to Detroit for 6 months. Go to the real world to solve real world problems, not cool places like Austin, Texas. Instead of virtue signaling try giving people real opportunity with real world job training and actual jobs. Or, would you just prefer giving Apple pocket change to foundations to spend so that you get a pat on the back but no real life changes for those who need jobs.

  5. Apple would do much more good if they announced that they were building an assembly plant in Detroit. This is just window dressing as they are still exploiting “people of color” in China.

  6. Good to see Apple using some of its cash mountain to make the world a better place, as Steve would have wanted.

    Just hope it doesn’t lose that laserlike focus on customer satisfaction.

  7. Why not just pay for tuition for these students? They did it at NYU Medical Students and successful Robert Smith donated $34M to Morehouse College that paid down the entire Senior classes loan debt to $0.00.

    That makes a difference and I’m sure Robert Smith is not “woke”. It was just the right way to invest. BTW – the college was pissed because they wanted to large donation to construct a building or what not – Mr. Smith said no – he wanted it to go to the students. Now he has an entire graduating class that has a role model.

    So Tim – WAKE UP – don’t be woke up. Donate your own money. We pay you enough and I’m sure you can part with some zeros in your account. $100M can do a lot of schools some good.

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