Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter and payment app Square, has come forward with one of the most staggering relief donations for the coronavirus cause yet. He has pledged USD 1 billion towards efforts to tackle the pandemic, which makes up more than a quarter of his overall personal wealth.
The 43-year-old chief executive of both Twitter and Square naturally took to Twitter to announce this, writing that the “needs are increasingly urgent”. In the six-part thread, he wrote that he wanted to donate to causes where he could see an impact in his lifetime. The donations will be made through a limited liability company. Although Dorsey has not yet detailed exactly where the funds will go, in the interest of transparency (an area that his companies have been criticized in before), he has posted a link to a live Google doc which will publicly track any donations. It is thought that a large portion of the funds will initially go towards providing much needed medical equipment, as the USA struggles to meet the demand. He said, once the Covid-19 pandemic has been “disarmed”, the funds will then go toward girls health and education and research into universal basic income.
I’m moving $1B of my Square equity (~28% of my wealth) to #startsmall LLC to fund global COVID-19 relief. After we disarm this pandemic, the focus will shift to girl’s health and education, and UBI. It will operate transparently, all flows tracked here: https://t.co/hVkUczDQmz
— jack (@jack) April 7, 2020
Dorsey stated that he will use the shares that he owns in Square to fund the donations which will be distributed through the Start Small Foundation. He said he was using shares of Square and not Twitter because he owned “a lot more” of them. The idea is that these shares will be sold over a period of time, which could impact on their value and the overall size of the donation.
The Twitter chief is not the only tech billionaire to pledge part of their wealth towards coronavirus-related efforts. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg committed USD 30 million, intended to be used specifically in the efforts to seek a medical solution to the pandemic. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos also pledged USD 100 million to food banks in the US to help those in economical strife and struggling with hunger. Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook announced back in March the company would offer support by way of medical supplies to Italy since they have been hit particularly hard by the virus.