Apple Launches New Nationwide Racial Equity and Justice Initiative Projects

Apple today announced a set of new projects as part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) to help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of color.
Rendering of the Propel Center

The projects include the Propel Center, a 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.
“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. “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 builds on Apple’s work to advance racial equity in education, the economy, and the criminal justice system, and is led by Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson.
“Every individual deserves equal access to opportunity regardless of skin color or zip code,” said Jackson. “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 contributing $25 million to the Propel Center, which 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.

Later this year, Apple will also open an Apple Developer Academy in Detroit. 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.

In addition, 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.

Lastly, 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 inequality.

The announcements follow news on Tuesday that Apple planned a non-product related announcement today. Apple CEO ?Tim Cook? has given an interview with CBS This Morning that focuses on the initiatives and should air sometime today.
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Author: Tim Hardwick