​Steve Jobs’ Widow Emerging As Potent Force

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May 17, 2013
Also: Giving Pledge, Laurene Jobs, Laurene Powell, Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs Widow, Widow

Steve Jobs died almost two years ago and his widow, Laurene Powell, has stayed out of the limelight ever since. However, she’s about to emerge with something special.

“She’s been mourning for a year and was grieving for five years before that,” said Larry Brilliant, president of the Skoll Global Threats Fund who is an old friend of Mr. Jobs, to The New York Times. “Her life was about her family and Steve, but she is now emerging as a potent force on the world stage, and this is only the beginning.”

After the death of her husband, Jobs has been focusing on making social changes with her agenda of global conservation, nutrition, immigration reform and gun control.

“It’s not about getting any public recognition for her giving, it’s to help touch and transform individual lives,” said Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, a philanthropist and lecturer on philanthropy at Stanford who has been close friends with Ms. Powell Jobs for two decades. She is also the daughter of a wealthy real estate developer in Silicon Valley and the wife of Marc Andreessen, the venture capitalist.

Jobs is the ninth wealthiest woman in the world, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index, with a networth of an estimated $11.5 billion.

Incredibly, they never signed the Giving Pledge, an organization created by Warren E. Buffett and Bill Gates to encourage the richest American families to vow to give away half their fortunes upon their demise. After Steve’s death, Laurene has stayed mum on the subject.

“Whether someone signs something is not what’s important,” said Powell Jobs to The New York Times. “It’s what they do and how they do it that matters.”

The 49-year-old grew up in West Milford, New Jersey and attended University of Pennsylvania for her undergraduate education, worked at Goldman Sachs for three years, and then attended Stanford Business School.

She met Jobs in 1989, when he went to the school to give a speech and was seated next to her.