Laurene Powell Jobs: The Selfless Philanthropist

It’s not just that Laurene Powell Jobs avoids the spotlight, although she does. And it’s not that she was often overshadowed by her larger-than-life husband Steve, the co-founder of Apple, although she was. It’s certainly not that she isn’t capable; she clearly is. It’s just that she seems to prefer quiet grace over bells and whistles when it comes to her philanthropic pursuits. Ms. Powell Jobs has long advocated for the intrinsically-linked causes of education and immigration reform, social justice, and the environment. She’s just done it her way.

Her late husband Steve was often criticized for not being philanthropically motivated. The truth, however, is that the Jobs have been giving away money and gifts anonymously for over two decades. In an interview with the New York Times, Ms. Powell Jobs said, “We’re really careful about amplifying the great work of others in every way that we can, and we don’t like attaching our names to things.”

Powell Jobs is the founder and chair of the Emerson Collective, an organization that focuses on using entrepreneurship to advance social reform and help under-resourced students. Consistent with her desire to work behind the scenes, Powell Jobs set Emerson up as a limited liability corporation, like a small business, instead of a tax-exempt 501(c)(3), like most charitable organizations. That means that Emerson can make grants, for-profit investments and political donations without having to publicly report its donations as a 501(c)(3) does.

Powell Jobs has quietly advocated for education reform for years. She is the co-founder and President of the East Palo Alto based nonprofit College Track. It helps prepare low-income students from underserved communities for college. The program, known for providing rigorous academic training and extracurricular activities, has worked with thousands of students, 90 percent of whom were accepted into college.

Her work with College Track led her to flex her political and economic muscle in support of the Dream Act. The DREAM Act would have given young people brought to the United States as minors by undocumented parents a chance to serve in the U.S. armed forces or pursue higher education while providing a path to citizenship. When the DREAM Act failed to muster the support it needed to pass Congress, Powell Jobs commissioned a film by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim. Titled “The Dream is Now,” the film was used by Powell Jobs to press key members of Congress to act on the issue. She subsequently launched a web site where the film can be viewed by the general public.

Powell Jobs has also supported numerous causes in Africa. In 2010, she traveled to Congo with actor and director Ben Affleck to support his Eastern Congo Initiative. As a board member of Conservation International, she traveled to Botswana to meet with sub-Saharan Africa leaders. In addition to her work with the Emerson Collective, College Track and Conservation International, Powell Jobs sits on the boards of The NewSchools Venture Fund, The Foundation for Excellence in Education and Stanford University. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations advisory board.

Rolling Stones Rates 50 Best Albums

The year isn’t over yet, but Rolling Stone magazine has already compiled a list of the 50 best albums of 2014. 

The fact that the list is already compiled leaves little chance for 2 of the most anticipated hip hop albums of the year to be included. Fans are still waiting on “The Carter V” from Lil Wayne and “PinkPrint” from Nicki Minaj. With that said, there are still some interesting choices that have made the Rolling Stone Top 50 list. Some are to be expected. Others are from artists that are not as well-known. 

Taylor Swift made the list with “1989,” but this doesn’t surprise anyone. The album is good, and fans are buying the album at alarming rates. The Coldplay album “Ghost Stories” became a delightful blend of stripped down pop rock songs that appealed to teens and adults. 

Lee G. Lovett says that a lot of people may not like the singing and rapping style of Future, but Rolling Stone critics included in him in the Top 50 list. Kanye west rapped with Future on a track. He also appear on Rihanna’s last album. This has made Future the rapper/singer that people love to hate. 

Benjamin Booker strummed his punk guitar sound along to gain some recognition this year. The self-titled album may be unknown to lots of people, but his appearance on this list will help him gain some exposure to the masses.

Ant-Man Moves Forward With A New Director

You really know that superhero films are hot when some of the lesser known characters in the Marvel Universe get a feature film. Ant-Man is a major go project and will extend the Marvel line of hero films.

Long-time fans of comics might chuckle a bit that the B-character is getting a film while the Silver Surfer film project of the 1970’s and 1980’s was never made. A Daredevil project in the 1970’s also never made it to production. At one time, Cannon Films’ draft of a Spider-Man script changed the origin to the point that Peter Parker shape-shifted into a huge tarantula!

These days, every hero gets a film. And as far as superhero’s go, the Superman of Brazilian business Flavio Maluf thinks that as long as the eventual film is a good one, then let them make as many of these superhero films as possible. One reason this particular project got a green light is because of the first choice for director.

Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright was originally helming Ant-Man. The wild nature of the director would have made for an interesting film for sure. Perhaps Ant-Man would have been more of a humorous project. Well, we shall never know.

Whatever vision Wright had crafted, it was not what Marvel wanted. The script drafts were far too removed from the universe that the studio already established. So, Wright is out and Peyton Reed is now the new director.

Hopefully, Reed will do a fine job.