Apple’s new Racial Equity and Justice Initiative projects will combat systemic racism in US

By

Parler Center
Apple is supporting the construction of a new learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s promised big announcement is a series of new projects within the company’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, designed to fight systemic racism and advance racial equity across the United States.

As part of a previously announced $100 million fund, Apple revealed Wednesday that it will support the launch of a new global innovation and learning hub for historically Black colleges and universities, open it’s first U.S. Developer Academy to support coding efforts in Detroit, and contribute venture capital funding for Black and other minority entrepreneurs.

“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 Apple CEO Tim Cook 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.”

Apple announced its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative in June 2020. Since then, it has been working to increase diversity efforts with historically Black schools and others. It also launched a guide for teachers and parents on how to discuss race and equity in the classroom. This is the latest demonstration of how serious Apple is about supporting these efforts.

What Apple’s contributions will cover

Apple’s newly announced donations under the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative banner will go to a number of organizations. It is donating $25 million to support the launch of the Propel Center, a physical and virtual campus to help support historically Black colleges and universities.

An Apple press release says:

“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.”

Later in 2021, an Apple Developer Academy will open in Detroit. It will offer both a 30-day introductory program for would-be developers, and a full 10-to-12-month academy program. Apple expects 1,000 students each year.

In addition, Apple will invest $10 million with Harlem Capital, an early stage venture capital fund in New York. This will support investments in 1,000 companies with diverse founders over the next two decades.

The company also will invest $25 million in Siebert Williams Shank’s Clear Vision Impact Fund. This fund provides capital to companies with a focus on minority-owned businesses.

Finally, Apple will make a contribution to the King Center, a “living memorial” to the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.