Apple CEO Tim Cook held a town hall meeting last week to celebrate Apple’s record quarter, and in addition to giving employees deep discounts on Apple products, we’re now hearing that he spent quite a bit of time focusing on Apple’s charitable contributions. According to our sources, Cook said that Apple has donated a total of $50 million to Stanford’s hospitals, split into $25 million for a new main building and $25 million for a new children’s hospital. Cook also spent quite a bit of time talking about Apple’s status as the leading contributor to Product RED, and expressed pride that Apple’s given over $50 million to the effort since it started.
That’s a marked contrast from the tenure of Steve Jobs, who faced numerous questions about his philanthropic efforts during his life and, according to the new book Inside Apple, reportedly once told employees that giving away money was a waste of time. The change in tone began almost immediately with Cook, who instituted a charitable matching program for employees within weeks of taking the CEO position, and it appears he remains focused on those efforts for the company as a whole.
Of course, Cook’s greater social challenge in the months ahead won’t be increasing Apple’s charitable outreach, but instead handling the public’s interest in Apple’s labor practices around the world. Cook was reportedly “outraged” over the recent New York Times report on Chinese working conditions that focused on iPad manufacturing, and we’re expecting to see a coordinated effort from Apple that directly addresses the issues in the coming weeks. $150 million in total giving is just a tiny fraction of Apple’s $97.6 billion in the bank – it appears Cook is at least open to expanding that ratio.