Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed the effects of Hurricane Harvey in an email to employees on Wednesday afternoon and said that the company had helped raise more than $3 million for relief efforts.
"Because Texas is home to more than 8,700 of our coworkers, the storm’s impact is felt by all of us," he wrote in a message obtained by BuzzFeed News, adding that the iPhone maker has a global crisis management team on the ground that is helping to move some employees and their families.
Cook noted that he was in Austin last week, a day before Harvey hit the Texas shore, and asked the employees donate food and supplies at Apple's Austin campus. Apple also allowed customers to donate to the American Red Cross through its App Store, with the company matching employee donations two-for-one. So far Apple users have raised more than $1 million, while the company has pledged $2 million.
Another technology leader, Facebook, took a different approach in soliciting donations from users for Hurricane Harvey, routing donations made through the social networking platform to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, a lesser-known organization that BuzzFeed News examined on Tuesday. Facebook had previously partnered with the American Red Cross for disaster fundraising efforts.
Cook said he hoped that some of Apple's Houston area stores would be back in operation on Thursday.
"Though our stores in the Houston area are still closed today, we’re working hard to get as many as possible open tomorrow to serve people who have been impacted by the storm," he wrote. "Our teams are eager to help with problems large and small, and they know there are lots of people in that area who need it."
Here is Cook's email in its entirety:
As you know, Hurricane Harvey is having a devastating impact on Texas and Louisiana. Our thoughts are with our employees in the storm zone and the millions of people whose lives have been disrupted by rain, wind and floods. I want to update you on some of the things Apple has been doing to help, and ways that you can get involved.
On the ground, Apple’s global crisis management team is working to support our employees directly affected by the flooding in Texas. The team is in close contact with Apple employees in the Houston area, and they’re actively doing everything they can to assist, including moving some employees and their families to safety. Apple employees in the Houston area have generously been helping people displaced by the flooding by opening their homes to team members and their families, and in some cases, assisting in rescue operations. We’re also proud that the US Coast Guard is using Apple products in those efforts, with nearly two dozen USCG helicopters specially equipped with iPads to help coordinate search and rescue teams.
As Harvey was making landfall, we put in motion critical donation programs. Apple is making it easy for customers to donate directly to the American Red Cross through the App Store, iTunes and apple.com, and we’re matching employee donations two-for-one. Thanks to your generosity and that of our users, Apple has helped raise more than $1 million in just the past few days. That’s in addition to the $2 million Apple pledged to the Red Cross over the weekend.
Though our stores in the Houston area are still closed today, we’re working hard to get as many as possible open tomorrow to serve people who have been impacted by the storm. Our teams are eager to help with problems large and small, and they know there are lots of people in that area who need it.
I was in Austin the day before Harvey came ashore, and the team was already bracing for the storm and the long recovery. Today that work continues. At our Austin campuses, we are kicking off a donation drive in partnership with the Central Texas Food Bank and Caffè Macs to collect food, diapers and personal hygiene items — all things that are critical in the aftermath of a storm of this magnitude.
Because Texas is home to more than 8,700 of our coworkers, the storm’s impact is felt by all of us. There’s still much to do, and Apple is committed to help.
Ryan Mac is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on the intersection of money, technology and power.
Contact Ryan Mac at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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