Apple Launches New Racial Equity and Justice Initiative Projects

In the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) program, Apple donates $100 million to help remove structural barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by color communities, reported by Apple today.

The Propel Center, a first-of-its-kind global innovation and learning platform for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); an Apple Developer Academy to promote coding and technology education for Detroit students; and venture capital funding for Black and Brown entrepreneurs are among these forward-looking and extensive programs.

Together, the REJI commitments of Apple help to increase opportunities across the country for communities of color and to help create the next generation of diverse leaders.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said, “We are all responsible for the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world, and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment.” “We are launching REJI’s new projects with partners across a wide spectrum of sectors and backgrounds, working together to empower communities that have endured the brunt of prejudice and discrimination for far too long, from students to teachers, developers to entrepreneurs, and community activists to justice advocates. We are proud to help bring this vision to bear and to align our words and actions with Apple’s ideals of fairness and inclusion that we have always respected,” he added.

Apple Launches New Racial Equity and Justice Initiative Projects
Jared Bailey, a senior at Morehouse College, has integrated Apple’s coding and creativity curricula into his public health and community service work as part of the school’s partnership with Apple, a collaboration that is expanding further with the launch of the Propel Center. (Credit: Apple Inc)

In June, Apple revealed REJI in the aftermath of demonstrations around the world following the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others. The initiative builds on the work of Apple to encourage racial equality in education, the economy, and the criminal justice system and is led by Lisa Jackson, vice president of Climate, Policy, and Social Initiatives for Apple. REJI complements Apple’s internal initiatives at every level of the organization to promote diversity and inclusion.

Jackson Bailey, a senior at Morehouse College said, “Each person, regardless of skin color or zip code, deserves equal access to opportunity.” “Communities of color have faced gross injustices and institutional barriers to their pursuit of the American dream for too long, and we are proud to lend our voices and resources to build new opportunity engines that empower, inspire, and create meaningful change,” he says.

Apple is partnering to support the opening of the Propel Center, a first-of-its-kind innovation and learning platform for the HBCU community, with Southern Company and a variety of community stakeholders.

The $25 million donations from Apple will allow the Propel Center to support HBCU students and faculty through a comprehensive virtual network, a physical campus in the historic Atlanta University Center, as well as partner institution activations on campus.

The center is intended to support diverse leaders in the next generation, providing innovative curricula, support for technology, career opportunities, and fellowship programs. A broad range of educational paths, including AI and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creative arts, career preparation, and entrepreneurship, will be offered by the Propel Center.

Apple experts will help create curricula and provide ongoing support for mentorship and learning, along with offering opportunities for internships.

Apple Launches New Racial Equity and Justice Initiative Projects
The Propel Center campus — equipped with state-of-the-art lecture halls, learning labs, and on-site living for a scholars-in-residence program — will be located in the historic Atlanta University Center district. (Credit: Apple Inc)

Ed Farm, a groundbreaking organization that works to promote innovation and equity in education, conceived and designed the Propel Center. The initiative builds on the partnership of Apple with Ed Farm and the work of the company with three dozen HBCUs, providing campuses and communities across the US with coding, creativity, and career opportunities.

Anthony Oni, founder and chairman of the board of Ed Farm, and vice president of Southern Company said, “We are excited to be partnering with Apple on this extraordinary project.” “The Propel Center will help to cultivate leadership and drive technology innovation and beyond, serving as a springboard for community change across America.”

The company is also setting up two new grants to support HBCU engineering programs as part of Apple’s ongoing partnerships with HBCUs. In collaboration with Apple experts, Apple’s new Innovation Grants will help HBCU Colleges of Engineering develop their curriculum for silicon and hardware engineering.

HBCU educators pursuing R&D with mentorship programs, curriculum development assistance, and funds to equip their lab spaces will be supported by the new Faculty Fellows Program.

Apple is also now offering scholarships to 100 new Apple Scholars from underrepresented communities, building on its long-standing scholarship program with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The Apple Scholars program includes mentorship and career development experience at Apple, in addition to financial support.

Apple Launches New Racial Equity and Justice Initiative Projects
MaKisha Funderburke will collaborate with Apple and Clark Atlanta University, where she is a professor, to create the curriculum framework for the Propel Arts program, one of the many educational tracks that will be available to all HBCU students and faculty through the Propel Center. (Credit: Apple Inc)
Apple Launches New Racial Equity and Justice Initiative Projects
Hailee Bryant-Roye, an early-childhood education major at Tennessee State University, has been able to pursue new teaching and learning opportunities with Apple’s Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create curricula, offered through the company’s collaboration with TSU. She’ll have access to additional programming, mentorship, and internship opportunities through the Propel Center. (Credit: Apple Inc)

Apple will launch an Apple Developer Academy, the first of its kind in the US, in Detroit later in 2021. According to US Census statistics, Detroit has a thriving Black entrepreneur and developer culture, with over 50,000 Black-owned companies. The academy is built to empower young Black entrepreneurs, developers, and coders in the increasingly growing iOS app economy, helping them develop the skills required for work.

Apple Developer Academy courses, introduced in conjunction with Michigan State University, will be available to all learners across Detroit, regardless of their academic background or whether they have any prior coding experience.

Two programs will be offered in Detroit by the Apple Developer Academy. A 30-day introductory program is intended for learners who are considering careers in the app economy and want to understand better what it means to be a developer.

The complete academy program is an intense 10- to 12-month program that will help young developers learn the skills required to participate and even launch their own businesses in the iOS app economy. With a curriculum covering coding, architecture, marketing, and technical skills, Apple expects the academy’s programming to attract up to 1,000 students each year.

And next month, for a virtual experience, Apple will host the inaugural cohort of its Entrepreneur Camp for Black Entrepreneurs and Developers, offering Apple experts and engineers one-on-one code-level advice, as well as mentorship, motivation, and wisdom from top Apple leaders.

Apple is today announcing two new investments in venture capital and banking spaces to overcome structural obstacles to access and financing faced by Black and Brown entrepreneurs, with both ventures intended to provide capital to minority-owned companies.

With Harlem Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm headquartered in New York, the company will invest $10 million to fund its investments over the next 20 years in 1,000 businesses with diverse founders.

Harlem Capital will also lend its resources to Apple’s wider efforts to advance access to economic opportunity, in addition to providing capital to entrepreneurs of color. The business will provide guidance and mentorship to Detroit Developer Academy students and participants in the Entrepreneur Camp for Black Entrepreneurs and Developers at Apple.

Apple will also endorse the internship program for Harlem Capital, which focuses on opening doors for aspiring women and minority investors.

The organization will also invest $25 million in the Clear Vision Impact Fund of Siebert Williams Shank, which provides funding to small and medium-sized enterprises with a focus on minority-owned businesses. The Fund seeks to support undertakings operating in or serving underserved markets that promote inclusive growth initiatives.

Apple continues to draw on its donations to community colleges, nonprofit advocates, and local groups to motivate and develop opportunities for the next generation as part of its REJI work.

Apple is contributing to The King Center, a living monument to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, to share his teachings and to encourage new generations to continue his unfinished work.

As part of Apple’s “Challenge for Change” series, a collection of discussion guides and learning-based challenges on topics related to race and injustice, Dr. King’s daughter and the CEO of The King Center, Dr. Bernice A. King, will issue a call to action next week to inspire young people to give back to their communities.

The grant from Apple to The King Center joins the company’s past contributions to non-profit organizations that support equality and fairness, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Montgomery, Alabama Equal Justice Initiative.

Apple Launches New Racial Equity & Justice Initiative Projects
Apple’s support for The King Center will bolster the organization’s work to share Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings and inspire new generations to carry forward his unfinished work. (Credit: Apple Inc)

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