She's 54, the widow of Steve Jobs, one of the richest women on the planet, and the founder and driving force behind what might be "the most influential product of Silicon Valley that you've never heard of," according to a lengthy profile in the Washington Post. The "she" is Laurene Powell Jobs, and the venture is her philanthropic venture called the Emerson Collective. For a sense of her philosophy, consider this quote: "If you want to just be a check writer, you'd run out of money and not solve anything," Powell Jobs tells the newspaper's David Montgomery. That's why the collective isn't set up as a nonprofit that doles out grants but as a limited liability corporation, giving it more flexibility to invest in programs in areas such as education, immigration, gun violence, and the environment.
At the same time, Powell Jobs has assembled a "kind of Justice League of practical progressives" on various issues, including former Obama education chief Arne Duncan on gun violence in Chicago. The model doesn't "conform to traditional models of philanthropy," writes Montgomery. "The engine Powell Jobs had designed was equal parts think tank, foundation, venture capital fund, media baron, arts patron, and activist hive." The piece digs into the particulars, as well as Powell Jobs' background as the daughter of a hardworking widowed mom. And, of course, it touches on her relationship with Steve Jobs, including how they first met when she attended a guest lecture he gave at Stanford. "Steve and I were together for 22 years starting from the day we met and never apart,” she says. “And it's the greatest blessing of my life.” Read the full story. (Read more Laurene Powell Jobs stories.)