April 9, 2020
“I hope this inspires others to do something similar,” Jack Dorsey, chief executive of Twitter and Square, said on Tuesday, April 7, of his plans to donate $1 billion—or just under one-third of his total wealth, to relief programs for the novel coronavirus, The New York Times reported.
Dorsey said he would put 28% of his fortune, in the form of shares in his mobile payments company Square, into a limited liability company that he had created, called Start Small. The new company would make grants to beneficiaries, he said, with the expenditures to be recorded in a publicly accessible Google document.
“Why now? The needs are increasingly urgent, and I want to see the impact in my lifetime,” Mr. Dorsey said—fittingly enough, in a series of tweets announcing his plans.
“ After we disarm this pandemic,” he tweeted, “the focus will shift to girl’s health and education, and UBI [universal basic income]. It will operate transparently, all flows tracked here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-eGxq2mMoEGwgSpNVL5j2sa6ToojZUZ-Zun8h2oBAR4 …
According to the Times, Dorsey, 43, joins a growing list of celebrities, world leaders, and techies who are earmarking some portion of their wealth to fighting the spread of the coronavirus and its effects.
Oprah Winfrey has donated more than $10 million of her personal wealth to COVID-19 relief efforts, while other Hollywood personalities — including Justin Timberlake, Dolly Parton, and Rihanna — have also made contributions. Last week, the Amazon chief executive, Jeff Bezos, said he would donate $100 million to American food banks through a nonprofit, Feeding America. And Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, also has organized relief campaigns through Facebook and his own philanthropic organization with his wife Priscilla Chan, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Even so, the Times notes, Dorsey’s contribution stands out for the sum he is putting in and for how much of his net worth that represents.
He said the first $100,000 donation would be to America’s Food Fund, a high-profile effort committed to feeding the hungry. It was started in a GoFundMe page last week collectively by Leonardo DiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Apple. To date, $13.4 million has been raised toward the goal of $15 million, contributed by 7,500 donors.
“Life is too short, so let’s do everything we can today to help people now,” Dorsey tweeted, followed by an emoji of a peace sign hand gesture.
Square declined a request for an interview with Dorsey. Twitter declined to comment.
Research contact: @nytimes