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Apple Pledges $30 Million Towards Racial Equity

3 min read

By Sue Peterson

On September 7, 2021, Apple pledged an additional $30 million to their initial $100 million investment launched in support of students, innovators, and advocacy groups back in June 2020. The Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) focuses on creating a more inclusive and just world. The recent funding is primarily targeted at equity programs at academic institutions and addresses racial justice and environmental concerns.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook stated, “The call to build a more just and equitable world is an urgent one, and at Apple, we feel a collective responsibility to help drive progress forward.”

Partnering with California Governor Gavin Newsom and California State University, Apple plans to create a Global Hispanic-Serving Institution (HIS) Equity Innovation Hub. The hub is designed to support the main campus and provide Apple devices. It will work to increase student success and equip Latinx and other historically underserved students with skills for high-demand careers in the four areas of STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math.

Funding is earmarked to expand Apple’s Entrepreneur Camp program designed to support entrepreneurs who are underrepresented in technology and to form a global network that encourages founders and developers of all backgrounds. A cohort of Hispanic/Latinx founders and developers will be added in 2022. Previously, the emphasis for underrepresented groups has been on female and Black participants. The immersive tech lab is specially designed for these underrepresented app-driven company founders and developers to increase their app experiences to the highest level by working with Apple leaders, engineers, and experts. After the lab concludes, there is ongoing support from Apple and inclusion in Apple’s Entrepreneur Camp alumni to further their networking and help them achieve their business goals.  

 Funds will be used to enhance education by offering new, creative opportunities to degree-seeking and community learners at historically Black colleges and in community colleges (HBCUs). Projected expenditures include working with Tennessee State University to expand its coding program to 11 more schools to make a total of 45 coding centers and hubs on HBCU campuses. Equipment such as mobile iPad and Mac labs, ongoing professional development for educators to learn about coding and app development, the implementation of the “Everyone Can Code” and “Everyone Can Create” curricula, and numerous opportunities for student jobs and scholarships are a part of the plan for the designated funds.

Grant funding will be awarded to the Equal Justice Initiative; the Vera Institute of Justice, Inc.; Turn 2 U, Inc.; the Council on Criminal Justice; the Sentencing Project, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition; Recidiviz; and several regional branches of the Innocence Project to support racial justice. These named organizations plan to partner with community colleges to create innovative and successful programs aimed at helping incarcerated and paroled individuals to learn new skills to reduce recidivism.

The high-tech company will support organizational leaders to work on addressing environmental concerns through funding of various Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and Indigenous-led groups. Primarily, Apple’s pledge is to seek environmental justice for those underrepresented communities that are, and will continue to be, the most impacted by climate change and disparities.

About the Author

Author

Sue Peterson has over 10 years of experience as a freelance writer and editor for hundreds of clients around the world. She is a part-time instructor in the Graduate Education Department of Concordia University after teaching in Wisconsin public schools and abroad for three decades. In her free time, Sue enjoys the solitude of her Northwoods cabin, as well as sailing and gardening.

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