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Steve Jobs Widow, After Year in Mourning, Emerges as a Philanthropy Player

Image: Steve Jobs Widow, After Year in Mourning, Emerges as a Philanthropy Player

By Alexandra Ward   |   Friday, 17 May 2013 12:46 PM

Less than two years after Steve Jobs' death, his widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, is slowly making a name for herself as a major force in the global philanthropy market.

Powell Jobs, the world's ninth wealthiest woman, is using her influence to push her agenda in education, immigration, gun control, and global conservation, among other things.

"She's been mourning for a year and was grieving for five years before that," Larry Brilliant, president of the Skoll Global Threats Fund and an old friend of Steve Jobs, told 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."

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Powell Jobs, 49, met the late Apple founder in 1989 when she was attending the Stanford Business School and Jobs made a speech there. They married two years later and had three children. Jobs died in October 2011 at age 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

After taking time to grieve her husband's death with her family, Powell Jobs is now charging forward as a philanthropic pioneer. Last month, for example, she sat down for a rare television interview, discussing the immigration bill before Congress. She has also taken on new issues, like gun control.

But her bread and butter are two of her education initiatives — College Track and Emerson Collective.

Powell Jobs founded College Track in 1997. The college prep organization helps prepare low-income students from underserved communities for college. The program, which operates a handful of location throughout the county, has trained 1,400 students and sent 90 percent of them to college.

Emerson Collective is an organization devoted to making grants and investments in education initiatives.

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She is also a major proponent of the Dream Act, a measure that would provide legal status for immigrants who arrived in the United States as young children.

"It's not about getting any public recognition for her giving, it’s to help touch and transform individual lives," Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, a philanthropist and lecturer on philanthropy at Stanford who has been close friends with Powell Jobs for two decades, told the Times. "If you total up in your mind all of the philanthropic investments that Laurene has made that the public knows about, that is probably a fraction of 1 percent of what she actually does."

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