In a bid to promote racial equality and justice, Apple has announced several initiatives in line with the $100 million pledge it made in June last year. Apple said it would launch the Propel Center – a global innovation and learning hub for historically Black Colleges and Universities that would be the first of its kind, Apple revealed.
Also, the initiatives to be undertaken include an Apple Developer Academy designed to help students from the Detroit area become proficient in coding and be educated in tech. The company said it would raise venture capital funding for Black and Brown entrepreneurs.
In a statement by Apple CEO Tim Cook, the company said it was invested in building a just and equitable world. Its proposed initiatives would send a clear message to all and sundry of Apple’s legacy. Cook said that its REJI initiatives would be undertaken together with partners from a wide range of backgrounds, including students, teachers, developers, entrepreneurs, community organizers, and justice advocates.
He noted that the initiatives were meant to empower communities that had suffered from systemic racism and discrimination over the years. Cook went on to explain that it was the company’s honor in bringing a long-held vision into reality, thereby putting the pledge it had made into actions to bring about equity and inclusion – values that it had prioritized overtime at Apple
The Propel Center is to be situated in Atlanta, Georgia, with a physical campus to go with. This is alongside a state-of-the-art virtual community. The iPhone maker said it would establish two new grants for the engineering programs of Historically Black Colleges and Universities while expanding the Apple Scholars program, which already provides scholarships for 100 college students in underrepresented areas, Fox Business reports.
The Apple Developer Academy, also deemed an unprecedented initiative, would be launched in collaboration with Michigan State University. The academy would be set up to teach Black entrepreneurs the requisite skills needed to excel in the digital economy.
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives has been vested with the responsibility of overseeing the racial equity and justice initiative. Apple is set to invest $10 million with Harlem Capital, a New York-based venture capital firm, and $25 million in the Clear Vision Impact Fund, which seeks to provide growth and operating capital to small and medium-sized businesses to maximize social impact.
The events surrounding the killing of George Floyd had made Cook release a statement back in June decrying the history of racial discrimination that still holds sway in the US till today. Cook subsequently noted that the nation must stand together and for one another. It was during that period that Apple CEO announced to employees of the company that Apple would carry out a series of donations to various groups, a pledge the company has begun to fulfill.