Apple, Google try to help out in refugee crisis

Christmas is still a long ways off, but in Silicon Valley it already seems like ’tis the season to be charitable.

The cause of the moment is the dramatic refugee crisis threatening to spin out of control across the Middle East and much of Eastern Europe. Both Google and Apple have in recent days announced big plans to give big in an effort to help out.

The news had barely sunk in that Google had raised more than $11 million in donations to help those caught in the ongoing crisis than Apple announced it was joining the philanthropic fray.

CEO Tim Cook has sent employees a message on the company’s intranet site that the iPhone maker would make a “substantial donation” to relief agencies supporting the migrants and would chip in $2 for every dollar an employee donated to the cause.

Apple customers were also encouraged to join in by donating through the Red Cross iOS app, as well as through either the iTunes or Apps stores.

“As we’ve all seen and read in the news, millions of people from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries have fled their homes because of war and persecution. Europe, where many hope to find safety, is experiencing a refugee crisis on a scale that hasn’t been seen since World War II. Thousands of people have already lost their lives as families embark on long and dangerous journeys across land and sea. Apple is making a substantial donation to relief agencies which provide humanitarian aid to refugees in Europe and around the Mediterranean.”

The Apple announcement was hardly a surprise to many in the nonprofit world. Cook has demonstrated a charitable side to his management style that contrasts sharply with that of his predecessor and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. As a recent post on Philanthropy.com pointed out, Apple has stepped up its giving game under Cook’s leadership:

Since co-founder Steve Jobs died in 2011, however, the tech giant has increased the profile of its giving under the leadership of its CEO, Tim Cook, who this week said he will give the majority of his personal wealth to charity, according to a report in Fortune magazine.

Recent corporate gifts from Apple, including more than $40 million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund this month, have raised expectations among nonprofit leaders that the most profitable company has charted a new, more generous course.

While Silicon Valley rides to the rescue, so are other major corporate players around the country, including Goldman Sachs and Volkswagen’s Audi subsidiary, both of which announced big donations recently, according to CNN: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said it received $17 million in donations from companies and individuals in six days.

 

Photo from Associated Press

 

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