Steve Jobs, the world’s greatest philanthropist

“The word philanthropy comes from the Greek philanthropos which comes from philein for ‘to love’ and anthropos for ‘human being.’ Philanthropy means love of humanity,” Dan Pallotta writes for The Harvard Business Review. “Which brings me to Steve Jobs.”

“What a loss to humanity it would have been if Jobs had dedicated the last 25 years of his life to figuring out how to give his billions away, instead of doing what he does best,” Pallotta writes. “We’d still be waiting for a cell phone on which we could actually read e-mail and surf the web. ‘We’ includes students, doctors, nurses, aid workers, charity leaders, social workers, and so on. It helps the blind read text and identify currency. It helps physicians improve their performance and surgeons improve their practice. It even helps charities raise money.”

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“We’d be a decade or more away from the iPad, which has ushered in an era of reading electronically that promises to save a Sherwood Forest worth of trees and all of the energy associated with trucking them around. That’s just the beginning. Doctors are using the iPad to improve healthcare. It’s being used to lessen the symptoms of autism, to improve kids’ creativity, and to revolutionize medical training,” Pallotta writes. “And you can’t say someone else would have developed these things. No one until Jobs did, and the competitive devices that have come since have taken the entirety of their inspiration from his creation.”

Pallotta writes, “What’s important is how we use our time on this earth, not how conspicuously we give our money away. What’s important is the energy and courage we are willing to expend reversing entropy, battling cynicism, suffering and challenging mediocre minds, staring down those who would trample our dreams, taking a stand for magic, and advancing the potential of the human race. On these scores, the world has no greater philanthropist than Steve Jobs. If ever a man contributed to humanity, here he is. And he has done it while battling cancer.”

Much more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Note: Dan Pallotta is an expert in nonprofit sector innovation and a pioneering social entrepreneur. He is the founder of Pallotta TeamWorks, which invented the multiday AIDSRides and Breast Cancer 3-Days. He is the president of Advertising for Humanity and the author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential.


Related articles:
Bono praises Steve Jobs as generous and ‘poetic’ philanthropist – September 2, 2011
Steve Jobs’ 1985 response to Andrew Ross Sorkin’s crass questioning of charity – August 31, 2011
On charity, Steve Jobs has a right to remain silent – August 30, 2011
Playboy posts interview with 29-year-old Steve Jobs from 1985 – November 20, 2010
U2 shun Apple iPhone in BlackBerry music App release – September 16, 2009
U2’s Bono: ‘Research In Motion is going to give us what Apple wouldn’t’ – April 6, 2009
Kahney jumps shark: praises Gates, crassly criticizes Steve Jobs over charitable donations – January 25, 2006


  1. FWIW, The Korea Times last week had called for a Nobel Prize for Mr. Jobs. Something, I could agree that it might actually correct the shortsightedness/grave errors on the limitations of that prize; it might actually boost/legitimise its prestige and value.

    “Einstein had his predilections; Kissinger-brokered the peace treaty as Vietnam crumbled; Paul Krugman acts a liberal Cassandra telling a disbelieving crowd of the merits of big government and Obama is reviled as a major disappointment.

    “Whatever their personal flaws may be, it is important to celebrate geniuses if only in the strong hope that more people will compete to outshine Jobs in their fields of expertise and contribute to mankind’s adventure.
    “Only for that achievement, Jobs deserves recognition at the highest level, from the Nobel committee.

    “Awarding Steve Jobs would give the Nobel Prize more relevance.

    “The Nobel Foundation awards those excelling in six fields every year and Jobs may not be included in any of them. In that case, the foundation could create one especially for him, perhaps a lifetime achievement award or, more specifically, one for promoting the best human spirit.

    “Perhaps, the shrewder and healthier Bill Gates is already preparing himself for a Nobel Peace Prize by engaging in extensive charity work (naughty!).
    “Jobs would look better among a Nobel crowd of tuxedos and ties than he has on stage in black turtlenecks and snug-fit jeans plugging his latest gadgets.
    I wish to see him speak as a Nobel laureate in Stockholm soon.”

    Hear, hear!

    You have redeemed yourself, Korea; now if you could just rein in your Samsung from its shameful practices, all will be forgiven.

    1. I should another similar opinion. It’s emotional, some of the facts are a bit questionable, but I feel the author. Particularly this part about the first time printing out your own words in a crisp laser printout in the 80s (you just had to be there).

      “No, it boils down to something far simpler. Steve Jobs made me happy!

      “He made me excited about my world. He made me say “Wow” a thousand times: the first time I printed a document on a laser printer; the first time I played a video game; the first time I saw an animated feature with such realism and detail I couldn’t believe my eyes; the first time I took my Mac Classic and actually worked on a computer; the first time I ever pasted a photo into a document and saved it as a PDF; the first time I ever downloaded a jazz tune and played it on my computer; the first time I ever watched a movie on my computer.

      “If there were a Nobel prize for corporate geniuses, Steve Jobs would be invited to Oslo, and I would be glued to my television to hear every word he had to say.”

  2. jesus is this guy for real?

    If working to build something is the measure of “philanthropy” then the list is longer than this guy’s short thinking can comprehend and it would include many historical figures who have done a whole lot more than creating computers and cellphones… people who did things like set entire nations of people free and left legacies that have stood the test of time would be the top of that list.

    my god man the cracker is soaked let the circle jerk end already!

    1. when i read posts like this, i truly thank the powers that be who put people who ‘think differently’ on the planet, specifically, for me, teachers i had in school from the start to finish, a mother who also did, and others, all of whom…..(from Palotta’s post) expend energy and courage “…to
      reversing entropy, battling cynicism, suffering and challenging mediocre minds, staring down those who would trample our dreams, taking a stand for magic, and advancing the potential of the human race.”
      If it weren’t for those people who recognized the value of dreaming and magical thinking, not much in my life would be what it is. There are a lot of standards to judge success by, mine includes those who create a wider context for creating.

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