Apple unveils new racial equity and justice projects as part of $100M program

The Apple logo is seen at a company store in an upscale shopping mall in Bangkok on November 10, 2020. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)

As part of its $100 million commitment unveiled this past June to combat racial equality and justice, Apple announced several new initiatives on that front on Wednesday.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant said it would launch the Propel Center, "a first-of-its-kind global innovation and learning hub" for historically Black colleges and universities, as well as an Apple Developer Academy to help Detroit-based students code and receive tech education. It also said it would support 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, 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 Propel Center will have a physical campus in Atlanta, as well as a "state-of-the-art virtual community." In addition, the company will establish two new grants for HBCU engineering programs and expand the Apple Scholars program, providing 100 scholarships for college students in underrepresented areas.

The Apple Developer Academy, the first of its kind, will be launched in conjunction with Michigan State University to teach Black entrepreneurs the skills needed to further advance the app economy.

The racial equity and justice initiative, which is being led by Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, will see Apple invest $10 million with New York-based Harlem Capital and $25 million in the Clear Vision Impact Fund.

The announcement comes just one day after Cook said the people who are responsible for the riots at the Capitol last week should be held accountable.

"I think it’s key that people be held accountable for it," Cook, 60, said in an interview with CBS' Gayle King. "This is not something that should skate. This is something we’ve got to be very serious about, and understand, and then we need to move forward."

In June, Cook issued a statement that appeared on Apple's website, discussing the "painful past" of racial discrimination that's still present today in the U.S.

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"To stand together, we must stand up for one another, and recognize the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism," Cook said at the time.

Cook also told Apple employees in June that the company would make donations to a "number of groups" and would match employee donations as well, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg.

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