Apple is contributing $25 million to a new tech education hub in Atlanta to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and is building an Apple Developer Academy in Detroit as part of its recently announced $100 million Racial Equality and Justice Initiative (REJI) to help advance racial equality and break down systemic barriers.
The initiative also includes $35 million in funding for entrepreneurs of color through Harlem Capital and Siebert William Shank’s Clear Vision Impact Fund.
“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,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement. “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.”
Under the initiative, Apple will contribute $25 million to the establishment of an innovation and education hub in Atlanta, which will be named the Propel Center, for the HBCU community. Other backers of the hub include the Southern Company and a range of community stakeholders.
The Propel Center will encompass a physical campus located in Atlanta University Center, a virtual platform and on-campus initiatives at partnering institutions. In addition to education, the center will provide tech support, career opportunities, mentorship and fellowship programs, Apple said.
The center will also offer a wide range of educational programs in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, agricultural technology, social justice, app development, design and entrepreneurship. The center was created by Ed Farm, an organization focused on fostering educational equity.
Apple has also established two new grants to help HBCU engineering colleges develop their silicon and hardware engineering programs, along with a fellowship program to support HBCU educators. Apple will also offer 100 new scholarships, which include mentorship and career development, for students from underrepresented communities through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Apple is also launching an Apple Developer Academy in collaboration with Michigan State University. The school will offer coding classes to Detroit area residents regardless of their academic background or coding experience. The coding academy will offer a 30-day introductory program and a 10- to 12-month intensive program in app development. Apple anticipates the academy will be able to serve 1,000 students per year with classes in coding, design and marketing.
The technology company also announced a $10 million investment in New York-based Harlem Capital, aimed at supporting investments in 1,000 companies led by entrepreneurs of color over the next 20 years.
Harlem Capital will also provide guidance and mentorship services at Apple’s Detroit Coding Academy and Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers. Apple will likewise invest $25 million in Siebert William Shank’s Clear Vision Impact Fund, which focuses on providing capital to minority-owned businesses, particularly those operating in underserved markets.