Written by Michal Lev-Ram
Last June, Apple announced it would earmark $100 million for its new Racial Equity and Justice initiative, an effort to “challenge the systemic barriers to opportunity and dignity that exist for communities of color and particularly for the Black community.” Now the company is ready to share the details on how some of that money will be put to use.
On Wednesday morning, the iPhone maker said it would invest in a series of programs: a learning hub for historically Black colleges and universities (both online and brick-and-mortar, in Atlanta), an Apple Developer Academy to teach coding skills in Detroit, and a $10 million check toward venture capital funding for entrepreneurs of color.
“We were asked by the CEO to put real emphasis on this [the push for racial equity],” Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives, told Fortune in a phone interview earlier this week. “We wanted to show people that this wasn’t just talk.”
In addition to her other duties, Jackson, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has been charged with heading up Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice initiative. According to the company, this effort complements the work of Apple’s internal diversity team. (The company recently announced that Barbara Whye, the former head of diversity and inclusion at Intel, would spearhead those internal efforts starting early this year.)
Apple isn’t the only tech company making new and ambitious commitments to addressing racial inequities, plus doubling down on efforts to increase racial and ethnic representation among its employee base. (Thus far, few technology giants have managed to significantly move the needle when it comes to their internal efforts.) Following the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and other Black Americans—and the massive protests that ensued as a response—many corporations made similar commitments. Now some are following through.