ATLANTA, GA — As part of Apple's $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI), Apple and Atlanta-based Southern Company will invest $50 million total in a technology hub — called Propel Center — for all students in the U.S. at historically Black colleges and universities.
Propel Center — a digital learning hub, business incubator and global innovation headquarters — will be located at Atlanta University Center, which is home to Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Morris Brown College and Spelman College. The center will provide innovative curricula, technology support, career opportunities and fellowship opportunities through a wide range of educational tracks in both a physical and virtual format, according to a press release from Apple.
“The Propel Center will be a tremendous asset to Atlanta’s thriving HBCU community and will advance the mission of these institutions in the United States, and around the world,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a press release from Southern Company. “Thank you to Apple and Southern Company for investing in our youth and our communities. We are honored to join you in this monumental effort.”
Propel Center will span 50,000 square feet with state-of-the-art lecture halls, learning labs and common areas as well as on-site living spaces for a scholars-in-residence program. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, construction is slated to begin by the end of this year, although the timeline is dependent upon the coronavirus pandemic.
Ed Farm, a nonprofit that works to provide innovation and educational equity, designed Propel Center and will provide programs and other services.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Apple on this extraordinary project,” said Anthony Oni, Ed Farm’s founder and chairman of the board, and a vice president at Southern Company, in the press release from Apple. “The Propel Center will help cultivate leadership and drive innovation in tech and beyond, acting as a springboard for change in communities across America.”
Apple and Southern Co. are the latest major companies and philanthropists who have committed to multimillion-dollar investments in Atlanta HBCUs in recent months. Since June, several of the schools have received their largest contributions ever, according to the AJC.