Steve Jobs, best known for co-founding Apple Inc and being the company’s chief executive officer is not well known for his philanthropy efforts. There has been a lot of criticism since his death that he did not donate to charities often, if at all, but it is quite perplexing to think about a man of such wealth not donating money to charity.

However, if a person is wealthy are they obligated to donate money to those in need?

This is a moral question that does not have a definite answer. The wealth he acquired was done by his own hard work, so why would he have to do any charity work if he didn’t want to?


steve jobs may have kept his charitable contributions privateBefore his death, Steve Jobs had an estimated wealth of $8.3 billion dollars. This figure was enough to rank him among the top 50 richest people in America. Wealth, however, is an interesting term to define. It is thought to be how much money a person has, but Steve Jobs owned stock. Stocks do hold value, but money is only gained when a person sells said stock. The figure given to his wealth could have easily risen or fell given the current condition of the company. This of course is offset by the wages Steve would have earned while being CEO of Apple.


Since his money was tied up in stocks, his wages would be a determining factor in his actual wealth. However, for his whole term with Apple he only earned $1 per year. This is a common amount given in many top companies because in lieu of money, stock options are given. Steve Jobs was quite different because the last seven years of his life he chose not to take any alternative forms of compensation. This is not to say that he did not sell off any of his stocks that he owned in Apple or various other companies.

Apple’s Philanthropy Efforts

It is not uncommon for a person’s business to donate substantial amounts of money to charities. When Steve returned to Apple in 1997, he decided that it was in the best interest of the company to stop giving money to charities. This came as a shock to many, but Apple was not the enormous company it is today. Eventually, Apple continued their philanthropy efforts and even became the biggest contributor to Global Fund. Global Fund is a nonprofit organization that helps to prevent and treat those suffering from HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.


Health Issues

In 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with cancer. He later announced to his company that he had cancerous tumor in his pancreas. This would eventually be the cause of his death even though he underwent a liver transplant and was considered to have an excellent prognosis afterward. This struggle provoked Jobs to visit and speak at many organ donation events. It would be highly unlikely that he did not donate money to them at one time or another.


Anonymous Contributions

Steve never liked to be in the spotlight and tried to keep his personal life out of the news. It would not be uncommon for such a private man to keep all of his charitable contributions anonymous. This would have allowed him to donate substantial amounts of money while keeping his activities private.


Wife’s Charitable Contributions

His long time wife, Laurene Powell Jobs has been a prominent philanthropist for many years. In fact, she even helped start a non-profit organization that helps students succeed in their academic lives. She also sits on the board of various charitable organizations that focus on education, women’s rights and the arts. Her efforts would have had some influence on her husband, seeing as she dedicates a large portion her life to help others.


Criticizing Steve Jobs is unfair since he always kept a private life.  He was a man in the public view who kept his and his family’s life veiled in secrecy.

The contributions he made to charities and nonprofit organizations would have been a part of his life that he would not have shared with the world. Steve Jobs was a man of silence; he influenced the world and created many of the world’s most prevalent technologies. However, the choices he made with his money, whether he donated to charity or not, should not tarnish the accomplishments he made during his short life.


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