Dorsey’s donation is not the first from influential tech entrepreneurs and other celebrities, but stands out because of the large sum, and because he claims it represents 28% of his wealth.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos donated $100m, which represents less than 0.1% of his $123bn worth.
Dorsey announced the move in a series of tweets in which he explains the motivations and inner workings of his plan:
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
“After we disarm this pandemic, the focus will shift to girl’s health and education, and UBI”, said Dorsey, the latter standing for universal basic income. He also said that “Grants will be made from Start Small Foundation or the LLC directly based on the beneficiary org. All transfers, sales, and grants will be made public in tracking sheet. … It’s important to show my work so I and others can learn.”
It’s a move that has already gained Dorsey respect considering the sum and the portion of his wealth it represents. Having recently survived a power grab at Twitter where he lost board seats and had to scrap his plans to move to Africa, this could represent a swing in public (and private) favour.
Dorsey is CEO of Twitter, the company he help found in 2006, and the payments app Square. He said he was setting up Start Small using just Square shares because “I own a lot more Square. And I’ll need to pace the sales over some time. The impact this money will have should benefit both companies over the long-term because it’s helping the people we want to serve.
"Why now? The needs are increasingly urgent, and I want to see the impact in my lifetime. I hope this inspires others to do something similar. Life is too short, so let’s do everything we can today to help people now. ✌?"