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Apple pledges another small but welcome sum to racial justice

Apple has pledged another $30 million to racial justice, on top of the $100 million it promised last year in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

It includes funding for a wide array of causes, including a Global Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) Equity Innovation Hub at California State University Northridge in Los Angeles, with the intent to create regional hubs at other universities, and an expansion of its work to bring community coding centers to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by adding 11 additional schools to the roster.

Last August, we calculated just how small the donations from Big Tech were compared to their immense profits, and today’s $30 million doesn’t really change the calculus there. At the rate Apple is currently raking in cash, it takes just 2.31 hours, or roughly 139 minutes, to make $30 million in profit.

Or — to bring the comparison down to earth a bit — it’s like if a middle-class US family made a one-time donation of seven dollars and fifty-one cents.

It’s also not entirely clear how much of Apple’s now-$130 million contribution is in the form of donations, rather than investments where Apple might get its money back: in January, the company revealed at least $35 million would be invested.

Still, it’s notable that Apple’s still sending significant sums towards racial justice at all, when an expert we quoted last year suggested that companies might turn their attention elsewhere when the moment fades.

Cash also isn’t everything. There’s also institutional change to consider. Also: “It’s not just about where you’re going, but it’s also about owning up to where you have been, and how you may have contributed to a situation that exists right now, and that the wealth and prosperity of your business could be rooted in, is likely rooted in, some deep-seated inequities,” Laura Morgan Roberts, a professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, told us last year.

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