Apple is not well known for its charitable contributions, but Apple chief executive Tim Cook wants to change that perception. During a company meeting last week, Cook talked about Apple’s contributions to local charities and its participation in global campaigns.
Cook told Apple employees that the company has donated $50 million to Stanford’s hospital, the Verge reported. In addition, Cook also talked at length about Apple’s participation in (Product) RED, a charity fighting against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. According to Cook, another $50 million has been donated to (Product) RED, though it’s unclear if the money came solely from the sale of (Product) RED branded iPods and iPad Smart Covers or if Apple donated additional money as well.
Before former Apple CEO Steve Jobs passed away, many people brought up the fact that he hadn’t personally contributed any of his estimated $3.8 billion wealth to charity. A New York Times column also pointed out that Jobs declined to join Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in the Giving Pledge, a charity that encourages wealthy Americans to donate half of their wealth to charity. And, according to the the book “Inside Apple”, Jobs at one time mentioned to employees that giving away money was a waste of time.
It’s clear that in regards to giving money away, Cook takes the opposite stance. Shortly after Cook took over, he announced a new employee matching donation program, in which Apple matches up to $10,000 per year for the charitable contributions its employees make.
But Apple’s charity efforts fall short when you look at the $97.7 billion the company now has in cash. The reported $150 million that Apple has given away is a small drop in the bucket even compared to $46.33 billion, the revenue Apple made in the first quarter of 2012. In addition, the labor issues stemming from Foxconn, the company that manufacturers the iPhone and other Apple products, only hurts the company’s newly found charitable image.
Even with Cook’s plans to step up charity efforts, it’s still a mysterious part of the company. Do a search of Apple’s site and you’ll have a hard time finding any information about community outreach or company donations. Heck, search the web for “apple charity donations” and the only hit you’ll get from Apple is from its Australian website. If Apple does have an official charitable contribution policy, it sure does a good job of hiding it.