On charity, Steve Jobs has a right to remain silent

“In his New York Times column today, ‘The Mystery of Steve Jobs’s Public Giving,’ Andrew Ross Sorkin shines a spotlight on the fact that the former Apple CEO and Forbes billionaire has never been public about his philanthropy,” Deborah L. Jacobs reports for Forbes. “He briefly considers, though seems to dismiss, the possibility that Jobs has been an anonymous donor.”

“Sorkin does an admirable job of marshaling the evidence that Jobs has devoted much more energy to building wealth than to sharing it,” Jacobs writes. “But whether Jobs has been charitable or not, what he does with his money is his choice. And he has the right to remain silent about it.”

Jacobs writes, “As Sorkin notes, there has been speculation that an anonymous $150 million donation to the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of, California, San Francisco, came from Jobs. His lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer would certainly make him what fundraisers call ‘a grateful patient.’ …If he has given generously and anonymously during his life – or plans to through his estate plan – I hope he makes sure we will never find out about it.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: People who question other whether others are giving to charity are uncouth and classless. Charity does’t have to come with a press release and a photo op. Mind your own business, Mr. Sorkin.


Related article:
Kahney jumps shark: praises Gates, crassly criticizes Steve Jobs over charitable donations – January 25, 2006


    1. That’s because there isn’t any. These people with the leftist entitlement mentality are notably not generous. They expect others to give for their benefit, and have no interest in giving themselves. While they constantly claim that they are the proponents of the poor, and accuse their opponents of being greedy, the reverse is the reality.

      According to Woz last week, Steve Jobs is an Objectivist. This is consistent with his high amount of charity (in the right circles we’ know about Steve’s work) and his silence about it.

      I suggest everyone who wants to understand Steve Jobs should read Atlas Shrugged. It is, quite literally, the book that made him what he is. (and its kinda obvious if you read the book… ) It also explains all the contradictions between the reality of Steve Jobs and the “hippie” (aka leftist) image people try to put on him.

      Objectivists recognize the difference between theft and charity, and advocate against the former and practice the latter. Those who advocate for the former, pretend like they are advocating for the latter and bash anyone who genuinely believes in charity with the accusation of being “greedy”.

      Look at Steve Jobs statements in public. In his resignation letter. At WWDC when he goes. He’s a charitable person with his words as well… that is his nature. He’s an objectivist.

      1. “These people with the leftist entitlement mentality are notably not generous. They expect others to give for their benefit, and have no interest in giving themselves. While they constantly claim that they are the proponents of the poor, and accuse their opponents of being greedy, the reverse is the reality.”

        That’s a total load. I am a leftist and give generously. My many leftist friends do the same. Stop shoveling, please.

      2. It’s really embarrassing how some arrogant jerks use this forum for political right wing propaganda.
        As to charity: mafia is known to giving money to catholic church—at least in Godfather movies…
        How’s that different from Bill Gates trying to buy forgiveness for his sins?

  1. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    If Steve would have made public donations people would be saying that he was giving for personal attention. Instead the guy donates so that nobody knows he did it (let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing) and people think he is a miser.

    Let’s just let him do whatever he wants and not worry about how much he gives. How about we worry about how much we are giving.

  2. MDN’s take is correct.

    If you want to make charity givings public, fine. If you want it secret, or not give at all, that’s fine. It’s none of anyone’s business. Regardless of who you are.

    1. You know, Gates and Warren Buffett have raised the bar for charitable giving, and many other wealthy people have risen to their challenge. So let’s leave Gates out of this ‘debate.’

      Gates, as much as Steve, has a right to give or not give without being judged by onlookers.

      1. Gates has been very public about his giving and in so doing opens himself up to scrutiny. His and Buffetts broken ideologies and lack of understanding of economics have them giving money to charities that often may not be of actual benefit. Of course, I’m sure on the net they generally are a benefit…. but even though they have a lot more money, in terms of positive effect, it is dumb money, poorly spent, and thus may not do nearly as much good for the world as the efforts of people with much smaller charities, but much smarter investments. (I consider charity and investment in an outcome.)

      2. Gates never had any interest in charity until his wife decided she wanted to buy some respectability with his ill-gotten gains. Look up what he had to say about it before he got married.

  3. Many people out there make an argument (that is difficult to oppose) that Bill Gates is a much better human because he gives generously, while Steve Jobs is a greedy selfish prick who keeps all of his money to himself. Same thing is often said about Apple and its policies regarding charitable giving.

    Anonymous giving is probably best for one’s karma, but since we also live in a less then perfect world, public perceptions often matter a lot. One could argue that other big companies (MS, Google, HP, Oracle, IBM, etc) outspend Apple in Washington (on lobbying efforts) by a massive margin (four times or more), and thus feel the need to offset the karmic effect of such spending by donating to charities. Since Apple spends so much less than them on the ‘evil’ cause, they may not need to counterbalance such spending…

    Otherwise, I don’t quite understand their current policy towards charitable giving (or lack thereof). I’d like to hear someone from the company explain it.

    1. So you’re saying that public perceptions matter more than personal integrity, then continuing to question other’s charity? So in addition to stupid, you’re shallow too?

      Why don’t you get your nose out of people’s private business? Better be careful, you’re liable to get it cut off if you keep sticking it in there.

    2. Steve Jobs made his money making the world a better place. Even if he’s buried with it, he will have done more for the world than Gates has.

      Gates made his money undermining the personal computer revolution not the point that 3 decades in productivity has gone up but the economy is still in the toilet…. though of course there are other reasons– people like buffett and gates who are leftists that have destroyed the economy — but gates made his money by stealing from others, not by making the world a better place as steve did.

    1. Sounds like you’re referring to Matthew 6:2, which I’d say is a sincere statement and not a sarcastic one.

      “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting – it has been found difficult, and left untried.” – G.K. Chesterton

  4. No less than Warren Buffett stated that he deliberately held back in giving in order to let time build up a larger cache of charitable funds. In thel ong run, he argued, the time valueof compounding meant that there were more funds to give.

    I recall too that it was discovered postumously that the owner of a global one of duty free shops had given away his fortune anonymously through a set of false-front foundations to keep his charitable giving a secret. He never sought publicity for his kindness.

    My point is that people can be incredibly generous without wanting credit for it. To assume that Steve Jobs plans to “take it with him” is premature at best.

    One sad legacy of Steve Jobs is that he has had to endure critiques and second guessing by lesser wanna-be pundits his entire professional life. This is but the latest example.

  5. Bill Gates gives millions to charity. Yet he gets bashed somehow for being rich! So sometimes you can’t win no matter what you do. There are stupid people out here and you can’t fix stupid. A lot of wealthy people ensure that some of their fortunes do good things for others. Steve Jobs may or may not give part of his fortune to good causes. If we don’t know then we shouldn’t assume because he’s a fav on this site that he did give. It’s his money. He will do with it as he pleases. If it goes to help mankind great! If it does not then so be it. Flowery rhetoric need not be applied here. MDN said it well.

  6. Particularly if you’re a corporation and you talk about your charity it’s, at least to some degree, not charity but advertising.

    Ronald McDonald houses, with their McDonald’s theme is perhaps the most egregious example.

    True charity is anonymous, period

    1. True charity is anonymous? Really? Perhaps that’s your opinion. Does that mean that when I drop change into the Salvation Army bucket it’s not ‘true charity’ because my friends are nearby? When I call in and pledge support to Jerry’s Kids during the Labor Day Telethon, is that not ‘true charity’ because they read my name out-loud on TV?

      Perhaps observed charity serves a roll to encourage others to join in. Or, perhaps you statement was ill-conceived and not really thought through…

    2. What a load of nonsense.

      Your position is that it is somehow evil for McDonalds to help people because, while doing so, McDonalds gets good PR because it shows them to be the kind of company that spends money helping people?

      You’d rather those people not be helped than that dirty, evil, for-profit (horror!) corporation get some benefit?

      See, boys and girls, these leftists really don’t care about helping people.. they just hate anyone who makes money…. and since the only way to make money is to give people something they want, the leftists really just want everyone to be slaves. The end result is totalitarian communism, but every step of the way they’ will pretend like they just want to help people…. while demonizing those who actually do!

  7. It is a lot better if what you do helps people making their life easier than making crappy products that makes you lose BILLIONS of dollars in attacks and antivirus and then giving a few millions away to charity.

  8. I agree with MDN, however I read something of interest recently where 150 million dollars was donated to a cancer hospital anonymously and it was thought to have come from Steve Jobs and his wife. Given that he is such a private person I believe hese matters in general are nobody’s business yet I do believe he is an extremely generous individual; just doesn’t want to be in the limelight.

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