Despite her name, wealth, and reputation, Laurene Powell Jobs isn't interested in "legacy wealth buildings." She made a point of this in an interview with The New York Times. "Steve wasn't interested in that [either]. If I live long enough, it ends with me."
Today, Laurene is the 35th-richest person in the world, worth some $27.5 billion on account of the fortune her late husband, Steve Jobs left her. Neither Laurene nor Steve have ever cared about the accumulation of wealth.
Instead, what she plans to do is use this money to change the world. Over the past few years, Laurene has become the most sought after Democratic megadonor for the 2020 election, having previously supported Senator Kamala Harris.
Most recently, she's acquired Pop-Up Magazine as well as significant stakes in the Atlantic magazine and Monumental Sports. In a project with the former education secretary Arne Duncan, she is also working to reduce gun violence in Chicago. All her values are reflected in the causes she takes on, spanning poverty, violence, environmental health, freedom of the press and education.
The 56-year-old's most urgent cause, however, is taking on President Trump's policies. "There's been a significant breakdown in Americans' ability to speak to one another and to hear one another," she explained to The Times. "That's become much worse in the last three years, where there's been full license given to the otherization of our neighbour."
This urgency comes from a profound lesson from her late-husband that we don't need to accept the world as it is. "We can actually change it, move it," she insists.
Her most worthy cause is as the pivotal force behind the DREAMers movement, in which she's continued to work hand, tooth and nail towards legislative success. The DREAM Act is an American legislative proposal for a process that would grant residency status to qualifying immigrants who entered the United States as minors. It would first award conditional residency and, upon meeting further qualifications, permanent residency. She has been working on making this dream come true for 18 years.
In 1992, she started a health-food truck called Terravera with fellow Stanford graduate, John Mullane. The pair sold Basmati rice platters and burritos with black bean dressing to white-collar workers in office parks. "We just wanted to offer a convenient way for them to eat healthy food," Powell Jobs told the Chicago Tribune in 1992.
As the founder of the Emerson Collective, a social change organization focused on education, immigration reform, the environment, media, and health, Laurene has used philanthropy, impact investing, advocacy, and community engagement as tools to spur change in the United States since 2004.