Apple commits $100M to its new Racial Equity and Justice Initiative

Apple announced today a new Racial Equity and Justice Initiative with a new $100 million commitment.

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, will lead the initiative. Jackson has notched an impressive list of achievements during her tenure at Apple by focusing on improving the environmental sustainability of the company’s supply chain.

“We’re at an important moment in our history. A time when progress, which has been far too slow, feels suddenly poised to move forward in a great leap,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement on Twitter. “Things must change and Apple is committed to being a force for that change.”

Beginning in the U.S. and expanding globally, Cook said that Apple will take its $100 million investment and focus on financing initiatives that address education, economic equality and criminal justice reform.

Cook said the company would build on existing work with historically Black colleges and universities, community colleges, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics education — especially among underserved and Black communities.

In addition to the company’s existing relationships, Cook said Apple would work with the Montgomery, Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative — a nonprofit that focuses on criminal justice reform and racial injustice.

The company will also hold a developer and entrepreneur camp for promising entrepreneurs ahead of its Worldwide Developer Conference.

Finally, Cook said that the company would commit to working on increasing its total spending with its Black-owned business partners and increasing representation within all of the companies that it does business with.

Apple’s initiatives will focus on representation, inclusion and accountability, Cook said.

As part of that, Cook said that the ultimate accountability for changes will fall on the company’s leadership to avoid making requests and having the work fall on the shoulders of employees and partners who are already dealing with lack of representation in their companies. “The burden of change must not fall on those who are underrepresented,” said Cook.