Unlike almost any other major corporate executive you can name—with the exception in more recent years of American financier and businessman Warren Buffett and Microsoft’s Bill Gates—Steve wasn’t interested in the money. As far as we know, he never made any significant contributions to charity or to political campaigns, but he didn’t spend very much, either—which in a way is curious, since he also once said that you don’t want to leave your money to your children because it would ruin their lives.
But as a result, he has been sorely criticized for not establishing a charitable foundation like so many other mega-wealthy people.
Even back when he was still only a gigamillionaire, he and I talked about this a lot. He didn’t believe in just giving money to some worthy but bureaucratic organizations that would take care of parceling out the funds, with no direct involvement of the donor.
He did feel that the way Apple donated and supported schools was a form of charitable giving, and one that had always been close to his heart. He had this feeling from his experience as a schoolchild and saw Apple’s education program as a direct contribution to something he knew had a direct result.
Think of what Apple has done for education over the years: Billions of dollars in computers and software donated to school systems. Those steep price discounts. Computers donated to schools for development projects. A campaign that I helped him wage to obtain passage of what came ...