Across the globe, Apple and its teams find new ways to give
December 8, 2022
Across the globe, Apple and its teams find new ways to give
The company’s Employee Giving program has raised over $880 million, with more than 2 million volunteer hours logged
Since January, Apple Store team member Maranda Barhorst has volunteered her time remotely reading audiobooks for children at Ronald McDonald House in Washington, D.C.; helping a doula in Tennessee create materials for her nonprofit that aims to reduce maternal mortality rates; and designing cards that highlight Black professionals to inspire students in Chicago. That’s in addition to volunteering in person with Big Brothers Big Sisters in her hometown of Cincinnati. And the year’s not over yet.
“I never needed for anything growing up, but it wasn’t easy either,” says Barhorst, a manager at Cincinnati’s Apple Kenwood Towne Centre who is part of Apple’s Global Volunteer Program. “So any opportunity to make it a little bit easier for someone else is something that speaks to my soul — if I can, then I should. Because helping someone be courageous or feel included can change the future, and it’s important to be one of those ripples in the pond.”
Since its inception 11 years ago, Apple’s Employee Giving program has raised over $880 million dollars for almost 44,000 organizations globally. That includes the work of more than 76,000 employees who have logged more than 2.1 million volunteer hours. For every hour an Apple employee volunteers or dollar they donate, Apple matches with a monetary donation to the same organization. In addition to volunteer activities and contributions made through the Employee Giving program, Apple also contributes millions of dollars to nonprofits through corporate grants.
This year, in communities around the world, Apple and its team members contributed to local organizations and global causes in extraordinary ways. From weekly volunteer engagements to local grants in support of food banks, and from professional mentoring to environmental cleanup events, the Apple community showed up for the people and places it calls home.
Earlier this year, for example, Apple launched a two-to-one matching program for all employee donations to organizations helping support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. The company also contributed directly to groups on the ground, including World Central Kitchen (WCK), a nonprofit founded by chef José Andrés that provides meals for people in crisis. Since February 25, the day after the invasion, WCK has served more than 177 million meals across eight countries in the region.
Across Europe, Apple employees are incredibly active in their communities, including in Cork, Ireland. Among other engagements, teams there have volunteered for the last five years at the Field of Dreams, a three-acre horticultural site operated by Down Syndrome Ireland. In 2022, volunteer engagement is up more than 250 percent year over year, with 850 volunteers completing more than 2,000 hours with the organization. That has a lot to do with the efforts of Apple’s Brian O’Leary, who helps to coordinate Apple events at the Field of Dreams.
“During the pandemic, the site became a little unkempt — the weeds don’t stop growing,” says Debbie Kelleher, the Field of Dreams care coordinator. “But Brian came out after the restrictions were lifted and said that the Apple teams were very keen to help out more regularly. We now have Apple volunteers here almost every Friday — we call them Apple Fridays.”
“When people volunteer at the Field of Dreams, they walk away feeling they’ve made an impact, and that’s what makes us all come back,” says O’Leary, who is already planning next year’s visits. “This organization is making a real difference in the lives of the people it’s serving, and to play even a small role in that means a great deal.”
In sub-Saharan Africa, Apple continues its 16-year partnership with the Global Fund through the (PRODUCT)RED campaign, which has raised more than a quarter of a billion dollars to help in the fight to end AIDS. Those efforts support dozens of organizations across the region, including the Zanzibar Association for People with HIV/AIDS (ZAPHA+), which has cared for thousands of children living with HIV through counseling and support groups.
That includes Miriam, who joined ZAPHA+ after she found out she was HIV positive as a teenager. The organization inspired her to become a community health worker, and she is now married with a child who is HIV negative thanks to antiretroviral treatment.
Among its community engagements in Australia, this year Apple expanded its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative to the country. The initiative supports a variety of organizations advancing equity in the country’s Indigenous community, including ID. Know Yourself. Founded by Isaiah Dawe in 2019, the nonprofit helps support and mentor young members of the Aboriginal community who are in foster or out-of-home care.
“I always say our purpose is founded by wounds, because I have grown up exactly like the kids we work with — and there are more than 20,000 Aboriginal kids in out-of-home care in Australia,” says Dawe, a Butchulla and Gawara Salt Water man who was in the Australian foster care system from infancy to when he turned 18. “At ID. Know Yourself, we create love, hope, and belonging so that every child can have self-determination and fulfillment in their life. We’ve been working with Apple for a few years now, and it’s amazing to see our kids express themselves in creative sessions that draw on their Aboriginal heritage and culture — they feel empowered because they’re connecting with their past and learning skills they need for their future.”
Across the globe, Today at Apple expanded its Creative Studios program, which partners with community organizations, mentors, and Apple Store teams to offer career-building creative experiences. In Tokyo, members of Sankakusha — a nonprofit that helps young adults struggling with isolation — were connected with professionals in the fields of photography and videography for a five-week course that culminated with each participant presenting their creative work.
“It was incredible to see the transformation that happened through the power of creativity — it’s not something we could have done by ourselves in such a short time,” says Sankakusha’s founder, Yusuke Arai. “The commitment of the mentors and the skills they taught enabled our youth to express themselves and find their voice. Some of our members became more confident than we could have imagined; after the program finished, a few found full-time jobs and another went back to school.”
In Shanghai, Apple Store team member Elyn Tang has volunteered throughout the year with organizations that clean up local rivers and help families who have children with disabilities. She also participated in an event with Rainbow Volunteer Club, a group that helps connect teenage girls living in rural areas of the country with mentors. In March, Tang worked with the organization and wrote a letter of support to a young girl, not knowing who would receive it, and not expecting a reply. But in June, she received an email that touched her heart.
“The girl who wrote back told me that my letter made her feel like she wasn’t alone,” says Tang, who is raising a young daughter of her own. “She said she had always wanted to become a teacher, yet had been at a loss and didn’t know how to make it happen. My letter inspired her to work hard to make that dream come true. I feel like my words helped to empower her, and that brings me a sense of peace.”
Around the world, Apple supports the work of food banks and other organizations that address food disparity through its Strengthen Local Communities grant program and other programming. And employees regularly team up with local organizations to help provide food, shelter, and other services to those in need.
In India, the organization Rise Against Hunger hosted multiple meal-packaging events at Apple campuses in Bengaluru and Hyderabad that collectively put together over 30,000 meals.
“It’s important for me to participate in social welfare activities because I feel that everyone should give back to their community if they can,” says Apple team member Vinod Nitturi, who volunteered at the Hyderabad event. “I have been blessed, and so if I can help someone who is struggling, I will do whatever is in my power to make that possible.”
As part of its work to advance environmental justice and advocate for communities most impacted by climate change and environmental disparities, Apple this year provided grants to environmental justice organizations, including the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, the Center for Diversity and the Environment, the Native Conservancy, and UPROSE. And for Earth Day, more than 1,300 Apple team members participated in dozens of cleanups and environmentally focused events across the globe.
Like many of her colleagues around the world, Apple Store team member Sandra Maranhão is incredibly passionate about contributing her time to environmental causes. But she also volunteers with organizations that raise awareness around prostate cancer, help those living on the streets, and support young people in her community in Rio de Janeiro.
“Volunteering is very fulfilling — that feeling of paying back to others what has been given to me is priceless,” says Maranhão, an Expert at Apple VillageMall. “It’s one of the best things about working at Apple; it gives me time so that I can contribute to my community. There’s a phrase that’s part of our credo about making the world a better place, and this is something that guides me. I want the Earth to be as beautiful as it is today for when my children grow up, and we can all do our part to make that possible.”
Rachel Wolf Tulley
Apple Media Helpline