In times like these, it wouldnit be a bad idea for Apple to lend a helping hand to the less fortunate. While some major companies are staggering from the effects of the recession or out of business completely, Apple is wealthy beyond imagination.
It has been a long tradition for companies or individuals that do extremely well financially to serve the community by giving back something to those who are less fortunate. Warren Buffet, Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, and others readily come to mind. Even Steve Wozniak is known for his assistance for the Los Gatos School District.
I am also reminded of just one of the effects that swept Barack Obama into office. He repudiated the Republican mantra of "Iim rich, youire on your own." Mr. Obama reiterated, as John Kennedy did, that while individuals bear responsibility for their own lives, individuals, organizations, and the government also bear a responsibility to each other. Never has it more true this holiday season as people, no matter what the politics or circumstances, are still suffering foreclosures. Many kids, who werenit very well off to begin with, suddenly find their parents laid off.
Other than a modest Product RED campaign, itis hard to find data on Appleis donations, especially to to U.S. charities. Perhaps itis done very discreetly. The best available data doesnit show anything for Mr. Jobs in particular.
Itis been well documented that there are people in the U.S. who are trading off bills and health care and food. While the well off are getting obese, when we look around these holidays, we see significant efforts to collect food for the needy. Lots of kids in the U.S. are either persistently hungry or on low quality diets.
Last week, in Denver, Channel 9 (KUSA)is 9 Cares drive collected 220 tons of food and over $111,000 in cash. Channel 9is General manager Mark Cornetta said the the generosity was nothing short of amazing.
There are charities, on a grand scale, but I am mindful of some very immediate needs right here in the U.S.: hot meals and a place to sleep for the homeless when it gets cold outside. Shelters for battered women and kids. Food collection drives by churches. The work of the Salvation Army. It wouldnit take long to find out whois making a difference in California and help them out. In a very public way.
After all, Apple felt it was important to stand up for peopleis individual rights as they visibly helped fight proposition 8. Helping out the less fortunate this holiday season, and all year long, would seem to be an equally important public service by Apple.
Apple earned over US$32 billion in FY2008. The company has about $24 billion in the bank. If Apple were to very visibly and publicly grant a mere $1 million per quarter to the neediest, it would only amount to 1/8000th of their revenues or 1/6000th of their cash. Think of it this way: itis about the same as the out of pocket cost Apple incurred to give every Apple employee a free iPhone.
Of course, this is just a humble suggestion. In case Apple forgot.