Laurene Powell Jobs is inventing a new brand of philanthropic power

“Laurene Powell Jobs — like the inventors and disrupters who were all around her — was thinking big. It was 2004, and she was an East Coast transplant — sprung from a cage in West Milford, N.J., as her musical idol Bruce Springsteen might put it — acclimating to the audacious sense of possibility suffusing the laboratories, garages and office parks of Silicon Valley,” David Montgomery writes for The Washington Post. “She could often be found at a desk in a rented office in Palo Alto, Calif., working a phone and an Apple computer. There, her own creation was beginning to take shape. It would involve philanthropy … technology … social change — she was charting the destination as she made the journey.”

“She eventually named the project Emerson Collective after Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of her favorite writers. In time it would become perhaps the most influential product of Silicon Valley that you’ve never heard of,” Montgomery writes. “Yet at first, growth was slow. The work took a back seat to raising her three children and managing the care of her husband, Steve Jobs, as he battled the cancer that killed him in 2011 at age 56, followed by a period of working through family grief.”

Laurene Powell Jobs
Laurene Powell Jobs
“She inherited his fortune, now worth something like $20 billion, and became the sixth-richest woman on the planet,” Montgomery writes. “Emerson Collective did not appear to conform to traditional models of philanthropy. Its worldview seemed more or less clear — center-left politics with a dash of techie libertarianism — but its grand plan was unstated while its methods of spurring social change implied that simply funding good works is no longer enough. The engine Powell Jobs had designed was equal parts think tank, foundation, venture capital fund, media baron, arts patron and activist hive. Certainly, it was an original creation — and potentially a powerful one. “I’d like us to be a place where great leaders want to come and try to do difficult things,” Powell Jobs told me recently. “I think we bring a lot more to the table than money. … If you want to just be a check writer, you’d run out of money and not solve anything.””

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, the Emerson Collective will do a lot of good.

Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective in talks to back BuzzFeed News – February 2, 2018
Laurene Powell Jobs backs ‘Dreamers,’ says ‘hundreds of thousands of young people’s lives are on the line’ – December 8, 2017
Laurene Powell Jobs is buying a big stake in NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL’s Capitals sports empire – October 3, 2017
Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective buying The Atlantic – July 28, 2017


    1. She’s an incredibly smart and capable person who was the life partner of Steve Jobs. My company is one out of many who wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for her angel investing (and this was years before Steve Jobs passed).

      In the story of Steve Jobs, he’s often maligned in regards to what he did with his money, especially in comparison to Bill Gates. The reality though is that he never made quite as much money as Gates, and spent very little of it as he worked until his death. Laurene, his life partner, was always engaged in things outside of Apple, but this was largely kept private.

      Now, much of what’s happening with the wealth that Steve Jobs created is being made more public through articles like this about the Emerson Collective. It’s still a very small part of the whole story.

      1. She is a die hard leftist. As long as she spends the money on her little social projects, that’s great. Just keep away from interrupting our liberty and republic. That seems to be too big a temptation for billionaire libs.

        1. As you you say, leftists who spend their money on projects to benefit people should be left alone and not criticised for it. After all, philanthropists of any political stripe, including religious charities, save the lot of us from ever more vexatious taxes. For that reason we should be glad for their benificence, even if we have none of our own.

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