Apple has announced its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI), a long-term global effort to advance equity and expand opportunities for Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and Indigenous communities, has more than doubled its initial financial commitment to total more than $200 million over the last three years.
Since launching REJI in June 2020, Apple has supported education, economic empowerment, and criminal justice reform work across the U.S., with recent expansion to Australia, the U.K., and Mexico, according to CEO Time Cook.
“Building a more just and equitable world is urgent work that demands collaboration, commitment, and a common sense of purpose,” he added. “We are proud to partner with many extraordinary organizations that are dedicated to addressing injustice and eliminating barriers to opportunity. And we’ll continue to lead with our values as we expand our efforts to create opportunities, lift up communities, and help build a better future for all.”
Through REJI’s education grants, Apple has reached more than 160,000 learners through in-person courses and out-of-school offerings, while committing over $50 million to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) to support science, technology, engineering, arts, and math opportunities.
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, says with a focus on economic empowerment, REJI funds financial institutions — including venture capital firms, Community Development Financial Institutions, and Minority Depository Institutions — that support Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses. And REJI’s criminal justice reform grants have supported legal services, safe housing, identification services, healthcare access, and other vital reentry services for more than 19,000 justice-impacted individuals.
As part of its expanding work, today Apple announced a new partnership with the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBKA), a program of the Obama Foundation. Through this strategic partnership and funding, Apple aims to help close opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color by supporting training for community leaders and MBKA staff, expanding programming for boys and young men of color, and strengthening the MBKA network through targeted community impact microgrants. The program plans to train more than 500 leaders and engage over 50,000 youth across the U.S.
Minority business investments
Also, Apple has committed an additional $25 million to Collab Capital, Harlem Capital, and VamosVentures — three venture capital funds working with minority-owned businesses. With this new round of investments, Apple has committed $50 million in venture capital support and more than $100 million in overall financing to mission-aligned diverse businesses and financial institutions.
These investments are part of REJI’s economic empowerment pillar aimed at addressing systemic barriers to access, creating opportunity, and supplying funding to support underrepresented and underresourced communities and businesses of color, says Jackson.
Advancing global opportunities
Building on its ongoing work in the U.S., REJI has continued to expand globally. Today, Apple announced new programming in New Zealand in partnership with Te Pūkenga — New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology, the country’s largest vocational educator. This work will support efforts to equip educators with the skills they need to prepare underrepresented Māori and Pasifika students to enter the country’s growing technology sector.
In Australia, Apple announced REJI’s expansion in August 2022 with initial grant funding to support initiatives and nonprofits serving Indigenous communities, including Deadly Connections, ID. Know Yourself, First Australians Capital, Art Gallery of NSW’s Djamu Youth Justice program, and Original Power.
New funding will support Karrkad Kanjdji Trust, a charitable trust established by the Traditional Owners of Warddeken and Djelk Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) to achieve their vision for a healthy country. Through REJI and the environmental justice grant program, Apple is also supporting the Women Rangers program with funding to enhance its diverse portfolio of land management, leadership, and skill-building activities.
In the U.K., Apple partnered with the Southbank Centre to launch Reframe: The Residency, a program designed to reduce the barriers that exist for aspiring Black creatives. In May, the program’s first cohort was selected from London, Birmingham, and Manchester.
Artists will present their work at a free exhibition, which opens on Tuesday, July 18, at the Southbank Centre. Also a part of Reframe, Inspire Schools works with educational institutions to teach students new skills by making digital magazines focused on the climate crisis.
Continuing Apple’s Community Education Initiative work with universities across Mexico, REJI has partnered with Enactus to support the expansion of iOS Development Labs that teach coding with Swift and prepare learners for careers in Mexico’s iOS app economy. And with the two newest labs in Tijuana and Chiapas, REJI is helping create new opportunities for traditionally underserved communities, says Jackson.
Finally, Apple has released its first-ever REJI Impact Overview, which provides a snapshot of the initiative’s impact across its areas of focus. The company continues to identify new partners and new avenues to advance its mission. In the three years since Apple launched REJI, the programs and organizations the initiative supports have continued to make a tangible impact in communities around the world, says Jackson.
Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today