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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Funding for a new developer academy in Detroit is one of several moves Apple is announcing today as it implements the $100 million racial equity and justice effort it announced last June.

The big picture: The tech industry is putting more money into racial equity efforts, but progress in diversifying its own ranks remains slow.

Details: Apple is pledging $25 million to help launch the Propel Center, a global learning hub. The center will consist of a physical campus in Atlanta along with a virtual community designed to serve those at historically Black colleges and universities. 

  • The Apple Developer Academy in Detroit will open later this year. It's being operated in partnership with Michigan State University and aims to help young Black entrepreneurs and coders find a place in the iOS app economy.
  • Apple is also investing $35 million in funds that focus on minority-owned companies. Some $10 million will be invested with Harlem Capital — an early-stage venture capital firm based in New York — and $25 million will be invested in Siebert Williams Shank's Clear Vision Impact Fund, which provides capital to small and medium-size businesses.

What they're saying: Apple CEO Tim Cook: "We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple's enduring commitment."

  • Apple VP and former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson: "For too long, communities of color have faced gross injustices and institutional barriers to their pursuit of the American dream."

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

Reddit traders' real-world positive consequences

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals

Thanks to Reddit, AMC Entertainment has managed to take $700 million of debt off its balance sheet, as well as raising $506 million of fresh cash in the stock market.

Driving the news: The movie-theater chain and hot meme stonk of the moment converted $100 million of junior debt into equity on Monday, while also raising fresh equity capital. Then, on Thursday, it announced that $600 million of senior debt had also been converted into equity, at a price of $13.51 per share.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

Varsity Tutors to be valued at $1.7 billion in SPAC deal

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Nerdy, the parent company of online learning platform Varsity Tutors, announced on Friday that it will be acquired by a SPAC called TPG Pace Tech Opportunities at a valuation of $1.7 billion. Axios had previously reported on the deal talks.

Why it matters: This is the first tech SPAC deal affiliated with private equity giant TPG, and comes as more and more legacy investment firms are hopping on the blank check bandwagon.

59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats settling on 25% corporate tax rate

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The universe of Democratic senators concerned about raising the corporate tax rate to 28% is broader than Sen. Joe Manchin, and the rate will likely land at 25%, parties close to the discussion tell Axios.

Why it matters: While increasing the rate from 21% to 25% would raise about $600 billion over 15 years, it would leave President Biden well short of paying for his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year infrastructure package.