Apple’s ‘big announcement’ is $100 million for racial equality (video)

From “Apple launches major new Racial Equity and Justice Initiative projects to challenge systemic racism, advance racial equity nationwide” posted Wednesday on the Apple Newsroom:

Apple today announced a set of major 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. These forward-looking and comprehensive efforts include the Propel Center, a first-of-its-kind 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. Together, Apple’s REJI commitments aim to expand opportunities for communities of color across the country and to help build the next generation of diverse leaders.

“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.”

Cue Tim Cook’s appearance Wednesday on CBS This Morning:

My take: Smart move. Historically black colleges and universities are key. I was afraid Apple was going to give away a bunch of iPads and make a big deal about it.

See also: Gayle King: Apple has a ‘big announcement’ tomorrow

17 Comments

  1. Bill Haymaker said:
    I’m sure there will be comments about the rightful role of business in creating and/or fostering change but I’d like to give this two thumbs up. Growing up in Minneapolis I was aware of the contributions of the Dayton family, the Pillsbury family and many more in building a strong city. As the companies have been sold off and often moved you can see the effects it has on State and local leadership. With the polarized leadership at the federal and state level it’s past time for responsible corporate leaders to be a more vocal active participant in getting the country moving in a more desirable and yes equitable way.

    7
    January 13, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      I’ve had some arguments with people arguing against “income inequality”. I said, “Without income inequality, we’d have a lot less art in museums, and fewer museums.” That got the counter-argument about increasing government funding for the arts. (I argued for ‘equal opportunity’ as opposed to ‘equal results,’ but for some people that concept is a bit too subtle.)

      1
      January 13, 2021
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Great. The ‘ops guy’ understands.

    To improve yields work at the early stages of the supply chain

    3
    January 13, 2021
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    Yesterday I wrote on this subject: “…. This teased announcement more than likely is about some significant humanitarian effort Apple is undertaking for the good of society in which the company will plough significant resources to effect societal good.”

    We often allow ourselves to get too far down-in-the-weeds looking under the leaves instead of raising our heads and observing what is going on in the forest above.

    7
    January 13, 2021
  4. Gregg Thurman said:
    I support this move by Apple, and at the same time think it’s a bit disingenuous.

    Are those programmers going to be taught using Windows tools, or iOS tools? I think this is nothing more than rebranding Apple’s efforts to increase the numbers of Mac/iOS developers. If I’m right Apple hasn’t taken a stand, hasn’t increased funding, it is only tying an issue to Company goals of expanding the Apple universe.

    A genuine effort would be led by a Billion dollar commitment to reach the disenfranchised in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New Orleans, St Louis, Chicago and other cities where minorities have and continue to suffer from systemic racism.

    As an aside, yesterday I changed my multi decade registration as a Republican to that of a Democrat. I then sent a letter to my local Republican committee of my change and the reasons why. PED, I understand, and support the decision, if this portion of my post is edited out, but enough is enough.

    8
    January 13, 2021
    • David Drinkwater said:
      I think my take on expanding the developer base is slightly different than yours: Apple WILL continue to expand its developer base: the question is HOW. And with today’s announcement, they have given us an indication.

      My view is that, if you always hire the best, without regard for race, creed, gender, attraction, etc etc, you get the best people and you have a larger pool to pull from.

      I also believe that we white folk (I’m speaking for myself here) owe some assistance to folks who we have suppressed.

      Sorry, PED, there is really no way to avoid discussing this announcement without being “political”.

      Gregg, congratulations on your party decision. As I have said to others, please defend your values, be they conservative or liberal, but please stop defending bad people.

      4
      January 13, 2021
      • Bart Yee said:
        “please defend your values, be they conservative or liberal, but please stop defending bad people.“

        Agree completely. However, people’s discernment of “bad people” sure seems suspect these days.

        1
        January 13, 2021
    • Lalit Jagtap said:
      These actions by Mr Cook will result is tremendous positive outcomes to to the “systematically discriminated communities” like Detroit and Atlanta.

      We have huge amount of untapped, untrained, unproductive talent in “economically and systematically discriminated” communities across the USA.

      During summer of 2018 and 2019, I volunteered to teach iOS development as part of 10-week program by Apple and the City of Chicago. And I witnessed, quality and quantity of resources committed by Apple for such a short program in Chicago.

      The commitment by Apple, will definitely deliver huge benefits and improve how things gets done at local level, and contribute to build better knowledge distribution infrastructure by improving local talents and institutions.

      I hope more corporations innovate on Apple’s playbook to prioritize investments in “disadvantaged communities” to have better knowledge centers.

      4
      January 13, 2021
    • Kirk DeBernardi said:
      @ Gregg Thurman —

      I salute you too, Gregg. Not as much for choosing a different party affiliation, but more so for upholding your own ideals and the common sense of sanity.

      0
      January 14, 2021
  5. John Butt said:
    Apple is a world company, the problems of racial inequity are world problems. USA only is a terrible look for the large number of international investors in AAPL as well as international customers of Apple products.

    This may be a very large commitment in the long term, but there is a s opportunity for it to pay off.

    2
    January 13, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      Very true, yet because the US IS Apple’s biggest market AND has some of the biggest disparities, it does make sense for Apple to start here. Also, it provides leadership and a corporate example of how to address these realities. I applaud Apple, it’s a good start.

      I am happy that many “companies” via their CEO’s or boards are pulling political funding (lobbying) and contributions, but I’d be a lot happier if they directed those monies to improving regular people’s (some of their customers) opportunities rather than seeking corporate help. But that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

      1
      January 14, 2021
  6. Dan Pallotta said:
    I think it’s wonderful. Still, a company’s real contribution to society is measured by its business, not its charitable giving. Years ago, when Steve Jobs was being criticized for not being as actively engaged in philanthropy as his peers, I wrote a piece for Harvard Business Review online about the real meaning of philanthropy— “philos” + “anthrpos:” love of humanity—and expressed my feeling that Steve Jobs actually exemplified it. It created a stir. HBR has since disabled comments on all of its legacy articles, but the piece is still there if you’re interested: https://hbr.org/2011/09/steve-jobs-worlds-greatest-phi.html

    1
    January 13, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Years ago, when Steve Jobs was being criticized for not being as actively engaged in philanthropy as his peers

      We have since learned that Jobs gave quite a bit, but chose to do it anonymously.

      0
      January 13, 2021
  7. John Konopka said:
    They focused on coding but there are other parts of this such as VC funding. Even if they just teach people to code for iOS (which is not bad as it is the most profitable App Store ), once they learn this they can easily pick up other languages.

    Kudos to Apple.

    4
    January 13, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      Very true. It’s not the particular code or platform but rather the critical thinking, coding skills, and professional work development that opens the doors. That plus expanding opportunities for jobs and ideas about entrepreneurship for an expanded group. Competition and increased supply of skilled coders is the result.

      Just look at the huge numbers of professional Fx staff needed on any major film, that all came through computer science and film arts training in the 90’s-2010’s. Expanding coding and other education before and beyond college opens up many more in-demand avenues for non-manual labor or dead end service jobs.

      1
      January 13, 2021

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