Laurene Powell Jobs

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Laurene Powell Jobs
Laurene Powell Jobs.jpg
Laurene Powell

(1963-11-06) November 6, 1963 (age 57)
EducationUniversity of Pennsylvania (AB, BS)
Stanford University (MBA)
Political partyDemocratic
(m. 1991; died 2011)
RelativesMona Simpson (sister-in-law)

Laurene Powell Jobs (born November 6, 1963)[2][3] is an American billionaire, businesswoman, executive and the founder of Emerson Collective, an organization that, among other investing and philanthropic activities, advocates for policies concerning education reform, social redistribution and environmental conservation.[4] She is also a major donor to Democratic Party politicians, including Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.[5][6][7] She is also co-founder and president of the board of College Track, which prepares disadvantaged high school students for college.[4] Powell Jobs resides in Palo Alto, California, with her three children.[8] She is the widow of Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple Inc., and she manages the Laurene Powell Jobs Trust.[9][10]

Early life and career[edit]

Powell Jobs grew up in West Milford, New Jersey.[11] She earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences and a B.S. degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1985.[4][12][13] She received her M.B.A. degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1991.[4][13][14]

In October 1989, Steve Jobs gave a "View from the Top" lecture at Stanford Business School. Laurene Powell was a new MBA student and sneaked to the front of the lecture and started up a conversation with Jobs, who was seated next to her. They ended up having dinner together that night.[15] A year and a half later, on March 18, 1991, they married in a ceremony at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.[16] Presiding over the wedding was Kōbun Chino Otogawa, a Zen Buddhist monk.[16][17] Their son, Reed, was born in September 1991, followed by daughters Erin in 1995 and Eve in 1998. Laurene is also the stepmother of Lisa Brennan-Jobs, Steve's daughter from a previous relationship, who was born in 1978.

Powell Jobs co-founded Terravera, a natural foods company that sold to retailers throughout Northern California.[4][8] She also served on the board of directors of Achieva, which created online tools to help students study more effectively at standardized testing.[8] Before business school, Powell Jobs worked for Merrill Lynch Asset Management and spent three years at Goldman Sachs as a fixed-income trading strategist.[4][8]

On October 3, 2017, reports indicated Powell Jobs had purchased a stake in the ownership group Monumental Sports & Entertainment that includes the NBA's Washington Wizards, NHL's Washington Capitals, and Capital One Arena. Her approximately twenty percent stake makes her the second largest shareholder behind chairman Ted Leonsis.[18][19]

Steve Jobs' death[edit]

On October 5, 2011, at the age of 56, Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, died due to complications from a relapse of his previously-treated islet cell neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer.[20][21] Powell Jobs inherited the Steven P. Jobs Trust, which as of May 2013 had a 7.3% stake in The Walt Disney Company worth approximately $11.1 billion, and 38.5 million shares of Apple Inc.[10][11][13]

As of July 2020, Powell Jobs and her family were ranked 59th in the Forbes' annual list of the world's billionaires[22][23] and 30th in Forbes 400.[24] According to the same list, she is the wealthiest woman in the technology industry.


In 2004, Powell Jobs founded the Emerson Collective, a private company structured as a Limited Liability Company,[25] that supports social entrepreneurs and organizations working in education and immigration reform, social justice, media, and journalism and conservation through partnerships, grants, and investments.[4][26] Through Emerson, Powell Jobs owns The Atlantic and a stake in Axios.[27][28]

In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Powell Jobs donated $2 million to Hillary Clinton and raised a further $4 million for her.[29][30]

In 2017, she backed the founding of the political organization ACRONYM,[31] which raised ethical questions for Powell Jobs for its creation of Courier Newsroom.[32]

In the 2020 U.S. presidential primaries, Powell Jobs donated to the campaigns of Democratic candidates Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Michael Bennet.[33] After Joe Biden became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, she went on to donate over $600,000 to his campaign.[34][35]


In 1997, Powell Jobs and Carlos Watson co-founded College Track, a nonprofit organization in East Palo Alto to improve high school graduation, college enrollment, and college graduation rates for "underserved" students.[36][37][38][39]

Of College Track's high school graduates, many of whom are first-generation college students, approximately 90 percent attend four-year colleges, and 70 percent finish college in six years, whereas the national average for first-generation college students is 24 percent.[38] College Track has facilities in East Palo Alto, Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, Watts, Boyle Heights, New Orleans, Aurora, Colorado, Denver, and the Washington, D.C., area.[37][38][40][41] "We have a wait list of five cities where we'd like to open up centers," Powell Jobs has said. "We want to keep our standards high, though, and are reluctant to grow through franchising or through dissemination of our curriculum and training."[38]

In September 2015, Powell Jobs launched a $50 million project to create high schools with new approaches to education. Called XQ: The Super School Project, the initiative aims to inspire teams of educators, students, and community leaders to create and implement new plans for high schools. Efforts include altering school schedules, curriculums and technologies in order to replace the country's century-old high school education model. Funding for XQ comes from Powell Jobs' Emerson Collective. Following an initial $50 million financial contribution,[42][43] XQ announced an additional contribution, awarding ten schools $10 million each, for a total financial contribution of $100 million.[44][45][46] The schools were chosen from approximately 700 submissions nationwide.[47][48] Powell Jobs' team of advisors is led by Russlynn H. Ali.[42][43]

Powell Jobs is a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council.[49]

As of 2018, Powell Jobs sits on the board of directors of College Track, Conservation International, and Stanford University.[4][13][50] She is chair of the board of directors of XQ[51] and also sits on the chairman's advisory board of the Council on Foreign Relations.[4][50] In 2014, she was ranked as the 29th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. Her ranking rose from #39 in 2013.[52]

Powell Jobs' philanthropy has been described as of limited "transparency and accountability."[53] In fact, in 2019, Powell Jobs was named the "Least Transparent Mega-Giver" of 2019 by Inside Philanthropy.[54][55][56]


  1. ^ "Laurene Powell Jobs & family". Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  2. ^ Isaacson, Walter (2011). "Family Man". Steve Jobs (First ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 269. ISBN 978-1-4516-4853-9. Lauren Powell had been born in New Jersey in 1963 and learned to be self-sufficient at an early age.
  3. ^ United States birth records
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Laurene Powell Jobs". Emerson Collective. Archived from the original on August 11, 2015. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  5. ^ Tindera, Michela. "Here Are The Billionaires Funding The Democratic Presidential Candidates, As Of September 2019". Forbes.
  6. ^ Schleifer, Theodore (July 16, 2020). "Silicon Valley pours money into Biden's campaign – and snubs Trump's". Vox.
  7. ^ Goldmacher, Shane (July 16, 2020). "Biden Banks $242 Million as Big-Name Donors Write Huge Checks" – via
  8. ^ a b c d "Laurene Powell Jobs". Parsa. Archived from the original on September 14, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  9. ^ "Laurene Powell Jobs & family". Forbes. November 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Golum, Rob (November 24, 2011). "Jobs's 7.7% Disney Stake Transfers to Trust Led by Widow Laurene". Bloomberg News. Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  11. ^ a b Peter Lattman; Claire Cain Miller (May 17, 2013). "Steve Jobs's Widow Steps Onto Philanthropic Stage". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
  12. ^ "Trustees' Council of Penn Women". University of Pennsylvania. Laurene Powell Jobs, CW'85
  13. ^ a b c d "Laurene Powell Jobs". Forbes. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  14. ^ "President Obama Announces Members of the White House Council for Community Solutions". December 14, 2010 – via National Archives.
  15. ^ Love, Dylan. "Steve Jobs Skipped A Business Meeting To Take His Wife On Their First Date". Business Insider. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  16. ^ a b Owen W. Linzmayer (2004). Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful. ISBN 9781593270100. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  17. ^ Elkind, Peter (March 5, 2008). "America's Most Admired Companies: Steve Jobs (pg 2)". CNNMoney. Archived from the original on February 18, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  18. ^ Zucker, Joseph. "Steve Jobs' Widow, Laurene, Reportedly Purchased 20% Stake in Wizards, Capitals". Bleacher Report. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  19. ^ Heath, Thomas (October 3, 2017). "Laurene Powell Jobs is buying a big stake in Wizards, Capitals sports empire". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  20. ^ "Rare Pancreatic Cancer Caused Steve Jobs' Death" (Press release). Voice of America. October 7, 2011. Archived from the original on January 24, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  21. ^ "Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs Dies At Age 56". Forbes. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  22. ^ Retrieved July 23, 2020
  23. ^ "The World's Billionaires: Laurene Powell Jobs & family". Forbes. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  24. ^ "#30 Laurene Powell Jobs & family". Forbes. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  25. ^ "Arne Duncan Joins Emerson Collective". EdSurge. March 20, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2018. The Emerson Collective is a Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  26. ^ "Steve Jobs' Widow Debuts Philanthropic". Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  27. ^ Theodore Schleifer (February 28, 2020). "Laurene Powell Jobs's charitable group is going to give away almost all of its money". Vox. Retrieved September 5, 2020. As an LLC, Emerson also invests in for-profit companies, meaning that it may be hard for Emerson to ever wind down completely and entirely. (After all, if she died tomorrow, Emerson might still own a majority stake in the Atlantic.)
  28. ^ Calderone, Michael (November 20, 2019). "Laurene Powell Jobs solidifies control of The Atlantic as Bradley relinquishes duties". Politico. Retrieved September 6, 2020. Emerson has invested in media start-ups such as Axios
  29. ^ Canales, Áine Cain, Taylor Nicole Rogers, Katie. "Meet billionaire investor Laurene Powell Jobs, who spends much of her $21 billion on charity and says her kids won't inherit the fortune". Business Insider.
  30. ^ Megan Henney (February 27, 2020). "Steve Jobs' widow vows Apple co-founder's fortune will be given away". Fox Business. Retrieved September 5, 2020. In 2016, she backed Hillary Clinton, donating $2 million to her super PAC via her nonprofit and hosting a $200,000-a-plate fundraiser that raised more than $4 million
  31. ^ Jim Rutenberg; Matthew Rosenberg (March 30, 2020). "Trump Won the Internet. Democrats Are Scrambling to Take It Back". The New York Times. Retrieved August 31, 2020. Another initiative went more smoothly, at least at first. It was called Acronym; among its backers were the Dollar Shave Club founder Michael Dubin, Mr. Hoffman and Ms. Powell Jobs.
  32. ^ Thompson, Alex (July 14, 2020). "Newsroom or PAC? Liberal group muddies online information wars". Politico. Retrieved September 5, 2020. Acronym – a sprawling digital organization whose programs include millions of dollars in traditional political advertising and voter engagement efforts, with financing from some of the deepest pockets in progressive politics, such as liberal billionaires Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, and Laurene Powell Jobs, the majority owner of The Atlantic – has stirred outrage and provoked debate about the ethics of such political tactics
  33. ^ Michela Tindera (February 18, 2020). "Here Are The Billionaires Funding The Democratic Presidential Candidates, As Of December 2019". Forbes. Retrieved September 5, 2020. Powell Jobs – who sits atop a $25 billion fortune she inherited from her late husband, Steve, the cofounder of Apple – has also contributed to the campaigns of Biden, Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Michael Bennet.
  34. ^ Shane Goldmacher (July 16, 2020). "Biden Banks $242 Million as Big-Name Donors Write Huge Checks". The New York Times. Retrieved September 5, 2020. Among those who gave at least $500,000 were Laurene Powell Jobs, the philanthropist and widow of Steve Jobs
  35. ^ "Browse Individual contributions".
  36. ^ Lattman, Peter; Miller, Claire Cain (May 17, 2013). "Steve Jobs's Widow Steps Onto Philanthropic Stage". The New York Times. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  37. ^ a b "Our Vision". College Track. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  38. ^ a b c d Sparks, Evan (Spring 2010). "The Old College Try". Philanthropy. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  39. ^ Brow, Jason (July 28, 2017). "Laurene Powell Jobs: 5 Things About Steve Jobs' Widow & New Owner Of 'The Atlantic'". Hollywood Life. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  40. ^ "2013 Global Conference Speakers". Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  41. ^ Howard Blume (November 15, 2015). "Laurene Powell Jobs launches college-support program in Watts". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  42. ^ a b Medina, Jennifer. "Laurene Powell Jobs Commits $50 Million to Create New High Schools". NY New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  43. ^ a b Monica Scott (November 16, 2015). "How Grand Rapids could get $10M for Museum School". Michigan Live. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  44. ^ Katie Reilly (September 15, 2016). "These 10 Ideas Are Each Getting $10 Million to Change High School". Time.
  45. ^ Greg Toppo (September 16, 2016). "$100M from Laurene Powell Jobs to remake schools for high tech age". USA Today.
  46. ^ Elizabeth A. Harris. "$100 Million Awarded in Contest to Rethink U.S. High Schools".
  47. ^ "Ten U.S. "Super Schools" awarded $10M each for reimagining education". CBS News. September 15, 2016.
  48. ^ Saranac Hale Spencer (September 15, 2016). "Delaware school's $10 million innovation". Delaware Online.
  49. ^ "Founding Members | Climate Leadership Council". Climate Leadership Council. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  50. ^ a b "Jobs's Wife Backs Education Causes". Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  51. ^ Emma Brown (September 15, 2015). "Laurene Powell Jobs donates $50 million to redesign high school". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  52. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  53. ^ Schleifer, Theodore (February 28, 2020). "Laurene Powell Jobs's charitable group is going to give away almost all of its money". Vox.
  54. ^ "How Laurene Powell Jobs Is Putting Her Wealth to Work". February 19, 2020.
  55. ^ "Emerson Collective".
  56. ^ "Philanthropy Awards, 2019". Inside Philanthropy.

External links[edit]