(RED) announced early today that its partner Apple had helped it raise more than $65 million to finance programs which include prevention, treatment, counseling, HIV testing and care services. The announcement was made by U2 singer Bono at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting.
The $65 million means that Apple has raised around $15 million since February 2012 with the (PRODUCT)RED initiative, if numbers out of an internal Apple meeting are accurate.
“Apple is an enormously valued (RED) partner,” A (RED) spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Their contributions help enable the Global Fund to finance the AIDS fight on the ground in Africa. This work is absolutely critical to ending AIDS.”
(RED) partners with a bunch of corporations like Nike, Starbucks, Apple, American Express and Beats, who contribute a slice of their profits from (RED)-branded products to HIV/AIDS research. Bono and Bobby Shriver of ONE/DATA created the concept in 2006 and Apple has been a partner for some time.
— (RED) (@RED) September 26, 2013
Apple currently offers a bunch of (PRODUCT)RED merchandise including an iPod Shuffle, iPod nano and iPod touch, as well as some iPad and iPhone cases.The (RED) iniative has come under fire for promoting the kind of ‘middle-man’ philanthropy that wastes money on advertising and fancy events rather than donating directly. The organization claims that it has raised $215 million so far, and has impacted 14 million people. 100% of the money raised by (RED) goes directly to the Global Fund to support work on the ground in Africa, a (RED) spokesperson tells us, no overhead is taken out.
One couldn’t help but think about how much more money Apple might be able to donate if it produced a (RED) version of its most popular product: The iPhone.
Apple doesn’t have a reputation for public philanthropy but has been making some moves to change that. Early last year, Tim Cook held a town hall meeting with Apple employees and noted several donations that Apple had made. Those included $50 million to Stanford’s hospitals, as well as the quoted $50 million (RED) contribution.
Of course, Apple has around $146 billion in the bank, so charitable contributions are probably a good way to snag a tax break. Hopefully the expansion of Apple’s charitable efforts under Cook continues.
This article has been updated with statements from a (RED) spokesperson.