Apple will build a learning hub in Atlanta as part of its racial equity pledge

Nick Summers
·Senior Editor
·3 min read

Apple has shed more light on its $100 million pledge to improve racial equity. Today, the company announced that it will be making a $25 million contribution to the Propel Center, a learning hub designed for members of the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). It will include a physical campus at the Atlanta University Center, a virtual platform for remote learning and events at partner institutions’ campuses. In a press release, Apple said the Propel Center will teach a variety of subjects including AI and machine learning, app development, augmented reality, creative arts and entrepreneurship. Apple employees will help design the curricula and offer mentorship opportunities, including internships.

Apple and Southern Company are founding partners for the Center. The official website reveals six additional program partners, including Inroads, Vydia, BrightMa Farms and Femme It Forward. The Center itself was designed by Ed Farm, which is part of the TechAlabama nonprofit. The pair have worked before on education-focused initiatives, leveraging Apple’s Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create curricula. In addition, Apple will be creating two new grants focused on HBCU engineering programs. These will help HBCU Colleges of Engineering to develop curricula around silicon and other technical fields. Apple will supplement this with 100 additional Apple Scholars from underrepresented communities.

In its press release, Apple also promised to open a “first of its kind” Apple Developer Academy in Detroit. It will help and inspire young Black people to be better creators, coders and entrepreneurs. Apple says the program will be launched in collaboration with Michigan State University and available to anyone in Detroit, regardless of their experience. The Academy will comprise of two courses — the first is a 30-day introductory program, while the second is a 10-to-12-month scheme built around iOS app development and associated fields, such as design and marketing. The company expects roughly 1,000 people to complete the courses annually.

Apple’s support doesn’t stop there. The company has promised to invest $10 million in Harlem Capital, an early-stage VC firm, so that it can better support companies with diverse founders. Apple will give a further $25 million to Siebert Williams Shank’s Clear Vision Impact Fund, which will focus its efforts on minority-owned small and medium-sized businesses. Finally, Apple will be making an undisclosed contribution to The King Center, a living memorial to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said: “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.” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, added: “For too long, communities of color have faced gross injustices and institutional barriers to their pursuit of the American dream, and we are proud to lend our voices and resources to build new engines of opportunity that empower, inspire, and create meaningful change.”