Laurene Powell Jobs plans to give away her massive fortune

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Laurene Powell Jobs (center) at the Female Founders Conference 2016 in San Francisco.
Laurene Powell Jobs (center) at the Female Founders Conference 2016 in San Francisco.
Photo: Y Combinator/Flickr CC

Laurene Powell Jobs, the wife of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, sat down for an interview with the New York Times this week giving rare glimpses into the mind of the world’s 35th-richest person.

In the interview, Powell Jobs discusses her childhood in New Jersey as well as how her 22-years of marriage to Steve Jobs influenced her views. Perhaps the most interesting bit of the interview comes though when Powell Jobs hates on massively rich people, saying it’s dangerous for society.

Powell Jobs formed the Emerson Collective in 2004 as an umbrella organization for her philanthropic work. She believes that in order to make the changes we need in society you have to take multiple approaches in different areas. So far, she’s been involved in everything from underprivileged education, sports franchises, saving journalistic institutions and much more. Based on her comments to the New York Times it sounds like she plans to spend most of the $27.5 billion she’s now worth.

Massive wealth is unfair

“It’s not right for individuals to accumulate a massive amount of wealth that’s equivalent to millions and millions of other people combined. There’s nothing fair about that,” said Powell Jobs.

Powell Jobs was unapologetic that she inherited a massive fortune from her husband, but she has a plan to make sure she’s one of the last mega-wealthy persons in the U.S. She says Steve Jobs didn’t care about accumulating wealth and that she’s dedicating her life to distribute the money he made effectively.

“I’m not interested in legacy wealth buildings, and my children know that. Steve wasn’t interested in that,” she said. “If I live long enough, it ends with me.”

Putting a dent in the universe

The entire interview is well worth a read. Powell Jobs talks about dealing with Pro-Trump family members, the struggles related to her father dying in an airplane crash when she was 3 and her work with College Track.

Powell Jobs also talked about how everyone gets the message of one of Steve Jobs’ most popular sayings totally wrong. Apple fans love to quote Jobs’ line that “We’re here to put a dent in the universe,” but the deeper meaning is lost on many.

“He was thinking of it as ‘We are able, each of us, to manipulate the circumstances,'” Powell Jobs explained. “I think about it as looking at the design of the structures and systems that govern our society, and changing those structures. Because those structures, when they’re elegantly designed, should be frictionless for people. They shouldn’t require you to make huge course corrections that impede your ability to live a productive and fulfilling life.”