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Out of the Limelight: The Jobs’ Generous Giving

Steve and Laurene Powell Jobs
IMG: via Forbes

The world loved Steve Jobs. The innovative, intelligent college-dropout who founded Apple and Pixar was charismatic and easy to like. He inspired people with his products and vision, and devastated many with his death.

But not everyone had all nice things to say about the Apple CEO. He eventually reached a net worth of $10.2 billion before his death in October 2011, and many criticized the business magnate for not being generous with his fortune. He was worth so much money, yet he hadn’t mentioned any charitable giving to his biographer nor had he gone public about large donation like Bill Gates did. People felt that someone who had such a large fortune ought to be giving more of it away.

But what they didn’t know is that he was giving some of it away. He and his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, had quietly been giving to charitable causes for over two decades—they just didn’t feel a need to go public about it.

“We’re really careful about amplifying the great work of others in every way that we can, and we don’t like attaching our names to things,” Powell Jobs said in an interview with the New York Times. In other words, they are a private family that doesn’t feel the need to blast their famous name at every good deed.

It’s only recently that Laurene Powell Jobs has decided to step a little more into the limelight. She’s pushing for changes in education, conservation, nutrition, immigration, and even gun control. About a decade ago, Powell Jobs formed a group called Emerson Collective, which is an organization that awards grants and investments in education and other initiatives.

Emerson Collective is an LLC, rather than a certified non-profit, which means it can donate to for-profit, non-profit, and even political causes alike. And unlike a foundation, it doesn’t have to publicly report what it gives. That allows for an incredible amount of freedom and privacy, which is right up the Jobs family’s alley.

Powell-Jobs also helped form an initiative called College Track in 1997, which provides college prep for aspiring college students. Through College Track, she has served as a mentor to young people, helping them achieve their goals.

“It’s not about getting any public recognition for her giving, it’s to help touch and transform individual live,” said one of Powell Jobs’ close friends, philanthropist Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen.

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Lunch With Apple CEO Bids At $600,000

Tim Cook
IMG: P O L L I T O via Flickr

The going price for coffee with Apple CEO Tim Cook is down from $605,000 to $600,000 after the top bidder in the auction was discovered to have been using a stolen credit card. The coffee date is just one among 138 total “experiences” being auctioned off to benefit the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Chatting over a cup of Joe is by far the highest bid in the RFK auction; the next highest is a six week internship at the UN in NYC and the UN-NGO Committee of Human Rights, currently going for a whopping $22,000. Further down the list is a tour of the SpaceX Center, acting in a scene with Chris Hemsworth in a Michael Mann film, eating lunch with Robin Williams on the set of a film, meeting Alec Baldwin backstage at Orphans on Broadway, and meeting Robert DeNiro at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival in NYC.

The auction still has about two weeks left, which gives potential bidders time to decide what they want to put in for. Estimated values range from a few hundred dollars up to tens of thousands, depending on the experience.

Charity Buzz has a number of other auctions going on as well, so if nothing catches your eye in the RFK auction be sure to check the others. Perhaps a certain cause will catch your eye, or a certain experience. Will it be MS, climate change, leukemia & lymphoma, or some other cause? Will you meet a famous celebrity or get to attend a life-changing event? It’s certainly worth a look.