Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has said he will donate $1 billion towards efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. This monetary pledge represents more than a quarter of his own wealth, and almost a quarter of the money allocated globally from philanthropists for COVID-19 research and relief efforts.
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
The donations will be made through Start Small, a limited liability company (LLC), which Dorsey founded in 2015. While LLCs are sometimes criticised for their lack of transparency, Dorsey sought to address this by linking to a google doc that will publicly track the funds donations. So far the spreadsheet lists one donation, dated 2 April, made to America’s Food Fund for $100,000.
After the coronavirus pandemic is disarmed, the focus of Dorsey’s charitable giving will shift to girls’ health and education, as well as universal basic income.
‘Why UBI and girl’s health and education?’ Dorsey wrote. ‘I believe they represent the best long-term solutions to the existential problems facing the world.’
The thread from the chief executive of both Twitter and the payment app Square addressed a few more questions that seemed likely to come up from the announcement.
As to why he decided to donate through an LLC, he wrote: ‘This segments and dedicates my shares to these causes, and provides flexibility. Grants will be made from Start Small Foundation or the LLC directly based on the beneficiary org.’
Dorsey then added that all transfers, sales, and grants would be made public via his spreadsheet. Transparency is ‘important to show my work so I and others can learn. I’ve discovered and funded ($40mm) many orgs with proven impact and efficiency in the past, mostly anonymously. Going forward, all grants will be public,’ Dorsey wrote.
Dorsey is a part of a growing number of tech billionaires who are stepping up to pledge funds to fight coronavirus.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has committed $130 million to different efforts for COVID-19 research and relief. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos announced that he would be donating $100 million to food banks. Apple CEO Tim Cook pledged to donate medical supplies to Italy last month. And Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose foundation has been concerned with public health for many years, pledged $100 million to research for drug therapies that can treat COVID-19 effectively; more recently it announced that it would be funding factories for seven potential vaccines.