Laurene Powell Jobs: Rarely-Discussed Efforts That Make a Big Impact

Previously known to stay in the background, Laurene Powell Jobs takes new efforts to give back with each passing year. As the widow of Steve Jobs, the former banker has become one of the most influential entities in Silicon Valley, and she has taken her efforts all the way to the nation’s capital.

According to Wikipedia, in 1985 Laurene Powell Jobs earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania as well as a Bachelor of Science from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Economics. Six years later, she received an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

After earning her Bachelor’s degrees, Powell Jobs worked for Merrill Lynch Asset Management as well as working as a trading strategist for Goldman Sachs.

Powell Jobs is a co-founder of natural foods company Terravera and has served on the Board of Directors for Achieva, College Track, Conservation International, Emerson Collective, The Foundation for Excellence in Education, NewSchools Venture Fund and Stanford University, in addition to sitting on the advisory board of the Council on Foreign Relations. Achieva helps create online tools to assist students with studying and preparing for standardized tests. College Track, an organization she helped to create, works to improve high school graduation, college enrollment and college graduation for disadvantaged youth. Emerson Collective, also co-founded by Powell Jobs, is an organization that supports organizations and individuals working in education, social justice and immigration reform.

Created in 1997, Powell Jobs now serves as President of College Track, and many of the organization’s graduates are first-generation college students. The overwhelming majority of these students enroll at four-year universities and most complete their coursework to graduate. In comparison, the national average for first-generation students does not even see a 25 percent completion rate. The program uses an intensive academic and extracurricular format to ensure admittance and prepare students for a successful college career. The organization features facilities in Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Aurora, Colorado, and plans to open more centers in the future.

Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective works through grants, investments and partnerships to provide improvement in a variety of social areas. Part of this organization is The Dream is Now campaign that aims to assist undocumented youth and their families with earning citizenship. The goal of this campaign is to help individuals exercise their skills and create an economic presence. She also serves on the board for Udacity, a Stanford organization that provides affordable education.

Many of Laurene Powell Jobs’ philanthropic efforts are inspired by her passion behind political causes. She has made herself a regular visitor to Capitol Hill to rally behind and speak on behalf of issues she deems important, including immigration reform. She has discussed the importance of such legislation while promoting the DREAM Act in Congress, and backed a documentary discussing the issue that aired at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.

She has publicly offered her support for the President’s actions regarding healthcare reform, and has been an active political donor to the campaigns of various Democratic candidates in the state of California. She made donations toward the reelection of Attorney General Kamala Harris, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and toward issues related to her organizations, such as school reform.

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