Since January, Apple Store team member Maranda Barhorst has volunteered her time remotely reading audiobooks to children at Ronald McDonald House in Washington, D.C.; assisting a doula in Tennessee in creating materials for her nonprofit, which aims to reduce maternal mortality rates; and designing cards highlighting Black professionals to inspire students in Chicago. In addition, she volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters in her hometown of Cincinnati. And the year isn't done yet.
"I never needed anything growing up, but it wasn't easy," says Barhorst, a manager at Cincinnati's Apple Kenwood Towne Centre and a member of Apple's Global Volunteer Program.
"Any opportunity to make it a little bit simpler for someone else calls to my spirit – if I can, I should." Because assisting someone to be bold or to feel included can affect the future, and it is critical to be one of those ripples in the pond.
Apple's Employee Giving program has raised over 880 million dollars for nearly 44,000 organizations worldwide since its beginning 11 years ago. This includes the efforts of over 76,000 employees who have contributed over 2.1 million volunteer hours. Apple will match every hour of volunteer time or dollar donated by an Apple employee to the same cause.
In addition to volunteer efforts and contributions made through the Employee Giving program, Apple makes corporate grants to NGOs worth millions of dollars.
This year, Apple and its employees made outstanding contributions to local groups and global issues in communities throughout the world. The Apple community stood up for the people and places it calls home, from weekly volunteer engagements to local grants in support of food banks, and from professional mentoring to environmental cleaning programs.
Apple, for example, announced a two-to-one matching program for all employee donations to groups assisting with humanitarian operations in Ukraine earlier this year.
The corporation also made direct contributions to organizations on the ground, such as World Central Kitchen (WCK), a nonprofit created by chef José Andrés that serves meals to people in need. WCK has served over 177 million meals across eight countries in the region since February 25, the day following the invasion.
Apple employees are extremely active in local communities throughout Europe, including Cork, Ireland. Teams from the organization have helped at the Field of Dreams, a three-acre horticultural facility run by Down Syndrome Ireland, for the past five years, among other things. Volunteer engagement has increased by more than 250 percent year over year in 2022, with 850 volunteers completing more than 2,000 hours with the organization.
This is largely due to the efforts of Apple's Brian O'Leary, who assists in the coordination of Apple events at the Field of Dreams.
"The property became a little disheveled during the pandemic – the weeds don't stop growing," explains Debbie Kelleher, Field of Dreams' care coordinator. "However, Brian came out when the limits were loosened and stated that the Apple teams were eager to assist more frequently." We now have Apple volunteers here almost every Friday, which we refer to as "Apple Fridays."
"When people volunteer at Field of Dreams, they leave feeling like they've made a difference, and that's what keeps us all coming back," adds O'Leary, who is already arranging next year's visits.
"This organization is making a meaningful difference in the lives of the people it serves, and even a small part in that means a lot."
Apple continues its 16-year engagement with the Global Fund in Sub-Saharan Africa through the (PRODUCT)RED campaign, which has raised more than a quarter-billion dollars to aid in the fight to eliminate AIDS. These activities benefit dozens of organizations around the region, including the Zanzibar Association for People Living with HIV/AIDS (ZAPHA+), which has provided counseling and support groups to thousands of children living with HIV.
Miriam, for example, joined ZAPHA+ after discovering she was HIV positive as a teenager.
She was encouraged to become a community health worker by the group, and she is now married to an HIV-negative kid thanks to antiretroviral medication.
This year, Apple expanded its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative to Australia as part of its community activities. ID is one of the groups supported by the program, which works to advance equity in the country's Indigenous community. Understand Yourself. Founded in 2019 by Isaiah Dawe, the nonprofit assists and mentors young Aboriginal people who are in foster or out-of-home care.
Today Apple has expanded its Creative Studios program around the world, partnering with community organizations, mentors, and Apple Store personnel to provide career-building creative experiences.
Members of Sankakusha, a nonprofit that supports lonely young adults, were connected with specialists in photography and videography in Tokyo for a five-week workshop that finished with each participant showcasing their creative work.
"It was fantastic to watch the transformation that occurred via the power of imagination - it's not something we could have done on our own in such a short period," says Yusuke Arai, creator of Sankakusha. "The mentors' dedication and the tools they provided allowed our youngsters to express themselves and discover their voice." Some of our participants gained more confidence than we could have dreamed; once the program ended, a handful secured full-time jobs, while another returned to school."
Elyn Tang, an Apple Store staff member in Shanghai, has spent the year volunteering with organizations that clean up local waterways and assist families with disabled children. She also took part in a Rainbow Volunteer Club program, which connects teenage girls living in rural sections of the country with mentors. Tang worked with the group in March and wrote a letter of support to a little girl, not knowing who would receive it or expecting a response. In June, though, she got an email that struck her heart.
"Volunteering is rewarding - the feeling of giving back to others what has been given to me is priceless," says Maranho, an Apple VillageMall Expert. "It's one of the best parts about working at Apple; it provides me time to give back to my community." There's a statement in our creed about making the world a better place, and it's something that inspires me. I want the Earth to be as beautiful as it is now for my children when they grow up, and we can all help to make that happen.
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