June 12, 2012

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Gives With No Strings

Steve Jobs may have been mum on his philanthropy, but his Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, was anything but at a gathering of fundraisers last week, surprising many in attendance with his first public talk on his giving philosophy.

"I would never give a gift that has restrictions," he said, in an appearance at the AFP TechKnow conference, in Orlando, Fla. "I leave that to people who know more than me."

He told a gathering of technology-oriented fundraisers that he doesn’t often deal face-to-face with nonprofit solicitors. But when he does, he gets involved with their organizations, often in a hands-on way. As a supporter of the arts, he has even performed in ballets and community plays.

Growing up, he wanted to be an engineer like his father. But he also harbored ambitions of being a teacher. So, after he became wealthy, he taught students at a California public school for eight years, often providing them with free computers. "Give your own time" is his philosophy, he says. "It's much more valuable than money."

Often Mr. Wozniak says he gives money away to random people, especially those who need a leg up. One of the beneficiaries was a man he met in Mexico named Arturo, who wanted to be mathematician. Mr. Wozniak gave him some money to go to college in London and told him: “You don’t have to pay me back in money.”

The best way to thank him for the gift, he said, is to help others. Now Arturo works for Facebook and has been a mentor to other employees there.

Here's more from Mr. Wozniak's talk at AFP TechKnow:

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