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Laurene Powell Jobs

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Laurene Powell Jobs
Powell Jobs in November 2012
Laurene Powell

(1963-11-06) November 6, 1963 (age 60)
EducationUniversity of Pennsylvania (BA, BS)
Stanford University (MBA)
(m. 1991; died 2011)
Children3, including Reed and Eve
RelativesMona Simpson (sister-in-law)

Laurene Powell Jobs (née Powell; born November 6, 1963)[1][2] is an American billionaire businesswoman and executive.[3] She is the widow of Steve Jobs, who was the co-founder and former CEO of Apple Inc., and she manages the Steve Jobs Trust.[4][5] She is the founder and chair of Emerson Collective[3] and XQ Institute.[6] She is a major donor to Democratic Party politicians.[7][8][9]

Early life and career[edit]

Powell Jobs was raised in West Milford, New Jersey.[10] 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.[3][11][12] She received her MBA degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1991.[3][12][13]

Early career[edit]

Powell Jobs co-founded Terravera, a natural foods company that sold to retailers throughout Northern California.[3][14] She also served on the board of directors of Achieva, which created online tools to help students prepare for standardized testing.[14] Before business school, Powell Jobs worked for Merrill Lynch Asset Management and spent three years at Goldman Sachs as a fixed-income trading strategist.[3][14]

Steve Jobs' death[edit]

Powell Jobs (left) receiving Medal of Freedom from Joe Biden on behalf of Steve Jobs in July 2022

On October 5, 2011, at the age of 56, Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, died due to complications from a relapse of islet cell neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer.[15][16] Powell Jobs inherited the Steven P. Jobs Trust, which as of May 2013 had a 7.3% stake in The Walt Disney Company worth about $12.1 billion, and 38.5 million shares of Apple Inc.[5][10][12]

As of July 2020, Powell Jobs and her family were ranked 59th in the Forbes' annual list of the world's billionaires[17][18] and 30th in the Forbes 400.[19] According to the same list, she is the wealthiest woman in the technology industry.

Later career and activism[edit]

In 1997, Powell Jobs co-founded College Track together with Carlos Watson.[20][21]

In 2004, Powell Jobs founded the Emerson Collective, a private company structured as a Limited Liability Company[22] that supports social entrepreneurs and organizations working in education and immigration reform, social justice, media, and journalism and conservation through partnerships, grants, and investments.[3][23] Through Emerson, Powell Jobs owns The Atlantic and a stake in Axios.[24][25]

In 2013, Powell Jobs was an early investor in,[26] and board member of, Ozy.[27] In addition, Ozy credited her as a "contributor."[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, Powell Jobs purchased a 20 percent stake in the ownership group Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which holds the NBA's Washington Wizards, NHL's Washington Capitals, and Capital One Arena. She was the second-largest shareholder behind chairman Ted Leonsis.[31][32]

Also in 2017, she backed the founding of the political organization ACRONYM,[33] which raised ethical questions for Powell Jobs for its creation of Courier Newsroom.[34]

In 2018, she stated that the book Small Fry by her stepdaughter Lisa Brennan contains false information about Steve Jobs as a father.[35]

As of 2023, she is an investor in California Forever, a company building a planned sustainable city in Solano County, California.[36]


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.[37][38][39][40]

Of College Track's high school graduates, many of whom are first-generation college students, about 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.[39] 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.[38][39][41][42] "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."[39]

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,[43][44] XQ announced an additional contribution, awarding ten schools $10 million each, for a total financial contribution of $100 million.[45][46][47] The schools were chosen from approximately 700 submissions nationwide.[48][49] Powell Jobs's team of advisors is led by Russlynn H. Ali.[43][44]

Powell Jobs is a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council.[50][verification needed] As of 2018, Powell Jobs sits on the board of directors of College Track, Conservation International, and Stanford University.[3][12][51] She is chair of the board of directors of XQ[52] and also sits on the chairman's advisory board of the Council on Foreign Relations.[3][51] In 2014, she was ranked as the 29th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. Her ranking rose from #39 in 2013.[53]

Powell Jobs's philanthropy has been described as of limited "transparency and accountability."[54] In 2019, Powell Jobs was designated the "Least Transparent Mega-Giver" by Inside Philanthropy.[55][56][57]

Personal life[edit]

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 room and started up a conversation with Jobs, who was seated next to her. They subsequently had dinner together that night.[58] A year and a half later, on March 18, 1991, they married in a traditional buddhist wedding ceremony at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.[59][60] Presiding over the wedding was Kōbun Chino Otogawa, a Zen Buddhist monk.[59][61]

Powell Jobs resides in Palo Alto, California.[14] She and Steve Jobs had three children together: son Reed (born September 1991) and daughters Erin (born 1995) and Eve (born 1998). Laurene is also the stepmother of Lisa Brennan-Jobs (born 1978), Steve's daughter from a previous relationship.


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ United States birth records
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Laurene Powell Jobs & family". Forbes. November 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Harris, Elizabeth A. (September 14, 2016). "$100 Million Awarded in Contest to Rethink U.S. High Schools". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  7. ^ Tindera, Michela. "Here Are The Billionaires Funding The Democratic Presidential Candidates, As Of September 2019". Forbes.
  8. ^ Schleifer, Theodore (July 16, 2020). "Silicon Valley pours money into Biden's campaign – and snubs Trump's". Vox.
  9. ^ Goldmacher, Shane (July 16, 2020). "Biden Banks $242 Million as Big-Name Donors Write Huge Checks". The New York Times.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Trustees' Council of Penn Women". University of Pennsylvania. Laurene Powell Jobs, CW'85
  12. ^ a b c d "Laurene Powell Jobs". Forbes. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  13. ^ "President Obama Announces Members of the White House Council for Community Solutions". whitehouse.gov. December 14, 2010 – via National Archives.
  14. ^ a b c d "Laurene Powell Jobs". Parsa. Archived from the original on September 14, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ "Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs Dies At Age 56". Forbes. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  17. ^ "Laurene Powell Jobs & family". www.forbes.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  18. ^ "The World's Billionaires: Laurene Powell Jobs & family". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 4, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  19. ^ "#30 Laurene Powell Jobs & family". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 8, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  20. ^ Schleifer, Theodore (September 29, 2021). "Laurene Powell Jobs' Bizarre Week in the Headlines". Puck.news. Retrieved October 5, 2021. Powell Jobs has been close with Ozy C.E.O. Carlos Watson for decades—the two co-founded College Track, her first philanthropic initiative, back in East Palo Alto in 1997
  21. ^ Bessie King (January 1, 2008). "Get to know Carlos Watson". Blast. Retrieved October 5, 2021. College Track, a program he co-founded to aid students in East Palo Alto
  22. ^ "Arne Duncan Joins Emerson Collective". EdSurge. March 20, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2018. The Emerson Collective is a Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  23. ^ "Steve Jobs' Widow Debuts Philanthropic". Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  24. ^ 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.)
  25. ^ 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
  26. ^ "Ozy Media raises $5.3M in seed round". Venture Capital Post. December 28, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2020. Laurene Powell, the widow of former Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, backed the startup
  27. ^ Smith, Ben (September 27, 2021). "Goldman Sachs, Ozy Media and a $40 Million Conference Call Gone Wrong". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 27, 2021. Laurene Powell Jobs, who had co-founded a college prep nonprofit with Mr. Watson in 1997, invested and joined the Ozy board
  28. ^ "Ozy - Tribe". OZY (media company). Retrieved October 5, 2021. As an investor, contributor and member of OZY's Board of Directors, Laurene Powell Jobs[dead link]
  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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  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. ^ Zucker, Joseph. "Steve Jobs' Widow, Laurene, Reportedly Purchased 20% Stake in Wizards, Capitals". Bleacher Report. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ 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.
  34. ^ 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
  35. ^ Valinsky, Jordan (August 28, 2018). "Steve Jobs' widow pushes back on her stepdaughter's memoir". CNN.com. Retrieved May 1, 2022.
  36. ^ "Billionaires want to build a new city in rural California. They must convince voters first". ABC News. Retrieved September 24, 2023.
  37. ^ Peter, Lattman; Miller, Claire Cain (May 17, 2013). "Steve Jobs's Widow Steps Onto Philanthropic Stage". The New York Times. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  38. ^ a b "Our Vision". collegetrack.org. College Track. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  39. ^ a b c d Sparks, Evan (Spring 2010). "The Old College Try". Philanthropy. Archived from the original on April 7, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2023 – via philanthropyroundtable.org.
  40. ^ 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.
  41. ^ "2013 Global Conference Speakers". milkeninstitute.org. Milken Institute. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  42. ^ Blume, Howard (November 15, 2015). "Laurene Powell Jobs launches college-support program in Watts". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  43. ^ a b Medina, Jennifer (September 14, 2015). "Laurene Powell Jobs Commits $50 Million to Create New High Schools". The New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  44. ^ a b Scott, Monica (November 16, 2015). "How Grand Rapids could get $10M for Museum School". Michigan Live. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  45. ^ Reilly, Katie (September 15, 2016). "These 10 Ideas Are Each Getting $10 Million to Change High School". Time.
  46. ^ Toppo, Greg (September 16, 2016). "$100M from Laurene Powell Jobs to remake schools for high tech age". USA Today.
  47. ^ Harris, Elizabeth A. (September 14, 2016). "$100 Million Awarded in Contest to Rethink U.S. High Schools". The New York Times.
  48. ^ "Ten U.S. "Super Schools" awarded $10M each for reimagining education". CBS News. September 15, 2016.
  49. ^ Spencer, Saranac Hale (September 15, 2016). "Delaware school's $10 million innovation". Delaware Online.
  50. ^ "Founding Members". clcouncil.org. Climate Leadership Council. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  51. ^ a b "Jobs's Wife Backs Education Causes". Wall Street Journal. October 9, 2011. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  52. ^ Brown, Emma (September 15, 2015). "Laurene Powell Jobs donates $50 million to redesign high school". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  53. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  54. ^ Schleifer, Theodore (February 28, 2020). "Laurene Powell Jobs's charitable group is going to give away almost all of its money". Vox.
  55. ^ "How Laurene Powell Jobs Is Putting Her Wealth to Work". Worth.com. Worth Acquisition Group. February 19, 2020. Retrieved February 8, 2023.
  56. ^ "Emerson Collective". influencewatch.org.
  57. ^ "Philanthropy Awards, 2019". Inside Philanthropy. December 31, 2019.
  58. ^ Love, Dylan. "Steve Jobs Skipped A Business Meeting To Take His Wife On Their First Date". Business Insider. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  59. ^ a b Linzmayer, Owen W. (2004). Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful. No Starch Press. ISBN 9781593270100. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  60. ^ Milian, Mark (October 6, 2011). "The spiritual side of Steve Jobs | CNN Business". CNN. Retrieved May 2, 2024.
  61. ^ Elkind, Peter (March 5, 2008). "America's Most Admired Companies: Steve Jobs (pg 2)". CNNMoney. Archived from the original on March 5, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013.

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