Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the amount that Laurene Powell Jobs contributed to Melissa Baten Caswell's campaign. There was a single $2,500 donation, which was reported in two separate filings, rather than two separate $2,500 donations.
With less than a month left until Election Day, Palo Alto school-board trustee Melissa Baten Caswell’s campaign for re-election has received a large cash injection from Laurene Powell Jobs, Palo Alto resident, education-reform leader and widow of technology pioneer Steve Jobs.
Powell Jobs contributed $2,500 on Oct. 14, according to campaign finance documents. Powell Jobs is the president of the Emerson Collective, a social justice-minded organization focused on reform in education, immigration and other areas.
The contribution came after the close of a reporting period, which ended in late September. The Political Reform Act requires candidates to report contributions of $1,000 or more from a single source during the 90 days before an election.
Baten Caswell told the Weekly Monday that she was surprised by the generous yet "totally unexpected" contribution. She said she has known Powell Jobs for a long time -- their children went to preschool together -- but they had not discussed her campaign finance needs.
"This was very generous of her. I didn't expect it, but I'm really grateful that she continues to have confidence in my service to the community and to our students," Baten Caswell said.
She said that Powell Jobs contributed to her previous school-board campaigns but not at this level. Baten Caswell was first elected to the board in 2007 and again in 2012.
The cash will allow Baten Caswell to fully execute a "pretty modest" campaign plan that, before receiving the contribution, she wasn't sure she would be able to accomplish, she said. The plan includes more advertising and direct mail to voters.
Her total campaign coffers are still under $20,000, Baten Caswell said.
As of late September, Baten Caswell had raised $12,814 with minimal spending (about $600 on T-shirts and kickoff party expenses). At the time, her total lagged behind contenders Todd Collins' and Jennifer DiBrienza's by several thousand dollars.
As of Monday, none of the other four school-board candidates had filed late campaign-contribution reports, according to online records.
The next campaign-contributions reporting deadline is Thursday, Oct. 27.
The Palo Alto Weekly has created a Storify page to capture ongoing coverage of the school-board election. To view it, go to storify.com/paloaltoweekly.