We have long known about the influence that Melinda Gates has on the Gates' giving. And now comes the news about Laurene Powell Jobs and Steve Jobs. Steve has often been criticized for not being philanthropic or taking part in the billionaire "Giving Pledge." But, at his death the truth comes out. Jobs' wife, Laurene Powell Jobs is a remarkable philanthropist whose husband supported what she did and turned all philanthropy over to her.
She was quiet about her philanthropy but has consistently backed education reform and women's issues. In 1997 she co-founded an educational reform organization called College Track and has become a leader in education policy, advising nonprofits and politicians. The Jobs family has quietly donated millions of dollars to College Track, combining money with Laurene's work.
True to the "Connection" part of our 6 C's of motivations for women's giving: Laurene said about the College Track program, "this is important enough that I am not going to just write a check--I am going to build with my own hands an infrastructure that can help students go to college." The program has trained more than 1,000 students, 90% of whom went on to a four-year college.
Her most recent philanthropic endeavor was to establish a broader organization called the Emerson Collective to work with a range of entrepreneurs to advance domestic and international social reform efforts. It is called the Emerson Collective because its name is based on Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Self-Reliance," and the organization believes in "empowering the individual by giving them tools to live a productive life."
Laurene's influence was also felt at Apple when the company, this past spring, established a program to collect first-generation iPads to be donated to Teach for America corps members.
She has appeared at Clinton's Global Initiative and made a trip to the Congo last year and invested in the Eastern Congo Initiative.
Another huge example of how women are influencing couple giving and defining philanthropy. Steve Jobs changed the world through his entrepreneurship. We can't wait to see the difference Laurene Powell Jobs will make on the world through her philanthropy.