"Steve Jobs is a genius. He is an innovator. A visionary. He is perhaps the most beloved billionaire in the world. Surprisingly, there is one thing that Mr. Jobs is not, at least not yet: a prominent philanthropist."
These words were written by CNBC business analyst and New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin in 2011 regarding Steve Jobs, two months before his death, and the "mystery" surrounding the Apple CEO's philanthropic efforts.
Before going any further, Sorkin prefaced his questioning of Jobs's generosity, or lack thereof, with a statement meant to downplay any perceptions that he was having a go at the man behind the iPhone, pad and mac.
"None of this is meant to judge Mr. Jobs," Sorkin said. It was just impossible to ignore the questions that Jobs' lack of public giving raised at a time during which wealthy people were liable to get exposed for such seemingly selfish behavior, Sorkin added.
Nevertheless, no matter what caveats were added, Sorkin made clear attempts at criticizing Jobs, even going as far to suggest that the college-dropout-turned-billionaire was wrong for not using his prominence as a cancer survivor to campaign for funding research against the disease.
While Sorkin, however, only tip-toed the line of criticism, many others who shared the New York Times columnist's befuddlement in regards to Jobs and philanthropy took it upon themselves to go a step further.
Take ABC News' Bill Weir for example, who once posthumously regarded Jobs as a deeply selfish man with a mean streak that bordered on pathological," or Leander Kahney, who labeled Jobs a "single-minded capitalist, seemingly oblivious to the broader needs of society."
In truth, the fact that Jobs didn't shout from the mountain tops about any form of charity that he'd done does make it seem as if he hadn't done any at all. Furthermore, tempered questioning of his generosity, or selfishness, then became fair game. But Weir, Kahney and other throwers of stone went further than that.
And why shouldn't they have? They were so sure of Jobs's cynicism and self-centered nature that there was clearly no need to pull any punches. After all, there was no way that Steve Jobs could punch back, right?
Alas, Last Friday it was revealed, in the New York Times no less, that Steve Jobs's family had been anonymously giving away money for over two decades. One of Jobs's newly revealed philanthropic efforts include funding College Track, which was co-founded by widow Laurene Powell-Jobs and described on the official website as "a national education nonprofit that empowers students from underserved communities to reach their dreams of a college degree." Or, as Leander Kahney might label it, a program dedicated to meeting one of the "broader needs of society."
And while the Times' article mainly focused on Jobs's efforts to helped disadvantaged get their high school degree, with a 100% graduation rate, and get into college, with a 90% admittance rate, AppleInsider.com detailed more of the Apple CEO's philanthropic work that doesn't exactly coincide with the characterization of a "deeply selfish" man.
According to AppleInsider, Steve Jobs was "invaluable" in efforts to fight AIDS in Africa, along with U2's Bono and donated over $50 million to Stanford hospitals among other efforts that, for the sake of this scribe's fingers, cannot be noted.
The point is clear, however. From dropping out of Reed College to, somehow, making a success out of the seemingly unnecessary yet irresistible iPad and everything in between, Steve Jobs has defied the odds and, no doubt, proved many people wrong along the way. So good was his penchant for doing so, that even death hasn't stopped him from reaching from the grave to deliver one last slap to his latest batch of naysayers.
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