Laurene Powell Jobs. Editorial Credit: JStone/Shutterstock.
Almost one year ago, Laurene Powell Jobs made the monumental decision to give all her wealth to charity and other noble causes. “If I live long enough, it ends with me,” Powell Jobs told The New York Times in 2020, as she unveiled her plan to donate $28 billion in assets during her lifetime or shortly after her death.
Her decision to part ways with her money is very much in line with the sentiments of her late husband, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who also didn’t aspire to acquire massive amounts of wealth, Powell Jobs said. The impact of her decision also lines up with Steve Jobs’ famous “put a dent in the universe” mantra.
Powell Jobs is a successful businesswoman in her own right and a fervent philanthropist who manages the Laurene Powell Jobs Trust as well as several business and nonprofit ventures. But how exactly did Powell Jobs amass and grow her fortune?
Check out our roundup of the ventures Laurene Powell Jobs has a stake in.
Powell Jobs’ significant stake in Apple is due to her inheritance from the Steven P. Jobs Trust, which granted her at least 38.5 million shares of one of the largest tech companies in the world. This sizable slice of Apple is worth billions and has powered Powell Jobs and her family to 59th on the Forbes' annual list of the world's billionaires, as of July 2020.
The Walt Disney Company
The Steven P. Jobs Trust also gave Powell Jobs partial ownership of another iconic brand, Disney. As of May 2013, she owned a 7.3% stake in The Walt Disney Company, which was worth approximately $11.1 billion at the time. This ownership stake in the company was created when Disney acquired Pixar, which Steve Jobs had backed when it spun out of Lucasfilm back in 1986.
Founded by Powell Jobs in 2004, the Emerson Collective describes itself as a social change organization that is focused on education, immigration reform, the environment, media and journalism, and health. The organization is deeply engrained in the journalism industry through its investments in Axios, Gimlet Media, and a majority ownership of Atlantic Media, which publishes The Atlantic. The Emerson Collective also has a stake in education technology company Amplify and owned The California Sunday Magazine and Pop-Up Magazine until October 2020, when it pulled its backing and forced the magazines to cease publication and become another casualty of the pandemic.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment
In 2017, Powell Jobs purchased around 20% of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, making her part of an ownership group whose portfolio includes the NBA's Washington Wizards, NHL's Washington Capitals, and Washington DC’s Capital One Arena. She is reportedly the ownership group’s second-largest shareholder after its founder, Ted Leonsis.
ACRONYM is a nonprofit political advocacy group partially financed by Powell Jobs. The organization is a major producer of digital media campaigns aligned with the Democratic Party. It has also done work for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Emily's List, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Planned Parenthood. In 2019, the group launched the Courier Newsroom, a for-profit digital media company that has been criticized as a Democratic political operation operating under the guise of local journalism. Acronym also owns Bluelink, formerly called Shadow, which famously created an app that failed during the 2020 Iowa caucus count.
Founded in 1997, College Track is an education nonprofit that seeks to help high school students from disadvantaged communities overcome systemic barriers so they can attend and graduate college. Powell Jobs is a co-founder of the organization and serves as the chair of the board.
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