Back in 1980, the late co-founder and CEO of Apple Steve Jobs, donated an Apple II computer to a nonprofit organization, the Seva Foundation, to help the group manage data from its efforts to restore sight in the developing world. Recently, that 33 year old Apple II which was kept packed away in a hospital basement in Katmandu, Nepal, was returned back to Steve’s wife Laurene Powell Jobs and their children at an annual ceremony (via The NY Times).
Larry Brilliant, a longtime friend of Mr. and Ms. Jobs, who co-founded Seva in 1978 said, “I do want to counter the meme that he (Jobs) was disinterested in philanthropy and things for the greater good. It wasn’t true.” Steve gave the organization the Apple II computer around 1980, to help them enter and analyze survey data from its eye surgeries in Nepal. Jobs also threw in a copy of an early spreadsheet program, VisiCalc, and an external hard drive that he boasted was the largest of its kind.
“You’ll never be able to use all the memory,” Dr. Brilliant recalled Mr. Jobs telling him. “It’s five megabytes!’” […]
A letter from Steve Jobs to one of Dr. Brilliant’s Seva co-founders around that time bears the letterhead of Apple Computer with one of its earliest corporate addresses on Bandley Drive in Cupertino, Calif. “I wholeheartedly accept your invitation to become a ‘member’ of SEVA,” reads the letter, signed by “Steven Jobs,” with the first letter of both names in lowercase. “Please let me know of any other specific opportunities where I can be of service.”
Ms. Powell Jobs accepted the computer with her son, Reed, at a ceremony commemorating the organization’s 35th anniversary. Seva says it has helped restore sight to 3.5 million people in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Tibet, India and other countries since it was founded.