Originally Posted by Conrail
There is no evidence whatsoever that the Jobs' were making significant anonymous contributions. It's merely wishful thinking from the Cult of Steve. While he may well have done so (from all indications I kinda doubt it though) there's no real reason to assume he did.
And you know what? It's all right if he didn't. Any giving, anonymous or otherwise, should be none of our concern.
True, there is no direct evidence. However, Laurene Powell Jobs is very involved in a number of educational nonprofits. People who sit on the board of charities tend to have some sort of monetary involvement.
Go ahead and look at the donor list of any large performing arts organization, museum, etc. Look at the names of the board of trustees, board of directors, officers, etc. Then look at the donor list. Even at the highest levels, there will usually be at least one anonymous donor, often several.
Assuming the Jobs family wealth is in a private trust (Laurene was an investment banker before she married Steve), there would be no public records of their charitable activities. The only people that would need to know would be the charities themselves, the Jobs tax attorney, and the IRS. Nothing would go through the probate courts.
Remember that there are significant tax benefits, especially for the Jobses whose vast fortune is mostly in fully-appreciated shares of Disney. They can donate shares without paying capital gains and write off the full market value at the time of the donation. Let's say the Jobs trust donated $1,000,000 in DIS shares. Let's say Steve paid the Disney share equivalent of $5 for those Pixar shares, but DIS is trading at $35. That means the trust gets a million dollar writeoff but the out-of-pocket was only $142,000. If the trust sold the shares, it would get dinged by the 15% long-term capital gains tax, meaning the charity would get $850,000 while the out-of-pocket would balloon to $292,000.