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Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs to talk philanthropy through $20bn fortune

Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs has been lined up to appear on stage at Recode’s Code Conference in May to discuss her philanthropic ambitions via her organization the Emerson Collective.

It’s a surprise booking considering Powell Jobs rarely gives talks or interviews. In a post on Recode’s website, the key question lined up for her is: “You have billions of dollars and you want to make the world a better place. Where to start?”

Currently, the Emerson Collective invests in a number of ventures which range from a high school for the homeless to Hollywood production companies that make “socially relevant content.”

On stage, she’ll also discuss why she’s interested in working with and investing in “social entrepreneurs,” as well as what others can do with time and money to tackle the big problems of the world.

Powell Jobs has an estimated net worth of $20 billion, though many might be surprised to find out Apple is responsible for the majority of that. The Laurene Powell Jobs Trust has just a 0.7 percent stake in the iPhone-maker. It’s vastly outnumbered by a 2.5 percent stake in Disney, which came from the company’s acquisition of Pixar in 2006. Pixar was previously owned by Steve Jobs. [Source: Forbes]

Stay tuned to hear what she has to say at the Code Conference which takes place in California between May 30 and June 1.

For some early insight into Powell Jobs’ ambitions through her organization, it’s worth reading her opening letter on the Emerson Collective website. Here’s an extract:

“For people trapped in the quagmire of poverty and disenfranchisement, a strong will to overcome the odds is rarely sufficient to beat them.  For the 22 percent of children born into poor neighborhoods in the U.S., hard work will not likely be enough to overcome the obstacles they will face, including those that remain invisible to outsiders. For students in challenging environments—where schools are chronically short of funds, where advanced classes in high school are non-existent, where expectations are often low and mentors are few—force of will alone cannot ensure a college education and a bright future. And for families forced into the shadows by a dysfunctional immigration system, perseverance cannot secure legal status and equal rights.

Qualities of character, in other words, must be supplemented and supported by policies and inspirations. These lives, these communities, are gardens of promise, but they need water in order to flourish.”