Laurene Powell Jobs is the widow of Steve Jobs, the man who co-founded the Apple computer company with Steve Wozniak in the 1970s. Laurene was raised in the town of West Milford, New Jersey. She was a great student, eventually earning acceptance into the prestigious Ivy League Wharton School at the University of Pensylvania in Philadelphia. She graduated from Wharton in 1985 with a B.S. in Economics. Graduating from an Ivy League school was not enough for Laurene. In 1991, she graduated from Stanford Graduate School of Business with an M.B.A. Stanford is also where she first met Steve Jobs, when he was giving a lecture at one of the classes she was attending.
Laurene has many interests, one of which is encouraging people to eat healthy. She was one of the co-founders of Terravera, a company that sells natural foods. The company primarily did business in the Northern California region. She also worked for Achieva as a member of their board of directors. Achieva was started with the goal of helping students to better prepare for standardized tests and improving their study habits. Internet tools were created by Achieva that students could use to assist them in their studies. Before she went to Stanford, Laurene spent some time on Wall Street as an employee of both Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs.
As of 2014, Laurene’s net worth is believed to be around $11.5 billion. She has earned a reputation of being extremely generous where her fortune is concerned, donating literally millions of dollars to a wide variety of charitable causes over the years. It is interesting to note that Laurene’s late husband did not share her passion for helping the less fortunate. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates approached Steve Jobs to get him to sign the “Giving Pledge” as a promise to give half his fortune to charity. He refused to sign it. Although extremely philanthropic in her own right, Laurene has not signed the pledge either.
Many charitable causes have caught the attention of Laurene, but she is particularly passionate about helping less fortunate people receive a quality education. In 1997, she was one of the people responsible for starting College Track. This non-profit company was designed for the purpose of assisting children from low-income families to stay in school and go to college. Prior to founding College Track, Laurene had made most of her charitable donations anonymously. However, College Track attracted a lot of attention to her philanthropic activities.
College Track looks for children who are having problems with school prior to them beginning high school. Once a child is in the program, they remain in it until they finish college. The program helps prevent kids from dropping out. As of 2014, nearly 1,200 students have taken part in the program. 90 percent of those students have successfully completed high school.
Laurene has also used her considerable resources to help illegal immigrant children become legal United States citizens, allowing them to qualify for financial aid. She supported the DREAM Act in an effort to achieve this goal. It did not make it through Congress. However, she has vowed to keep pushing for immigration reform in the future.