Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is allocating $1 billion in his personal share equity to a new fund that will initially aim to assist in COVID-19 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
In a tweet thread, Dorsey explained that he has allocated more than $40 million to various causes and organizations over the years, though mostly anonymously. Now, Dorsey says, any donations and grants will be public. Given he's utilizing share equity, as opposed to direct cash, that makes sense - though even with that concession, the allocation is significant.
Dorsey says that the funding will benefit both Twitter and Square over the long-term "because it’s helping the people we want to serve".
As noted in Dorsey's original tweet, once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, the funding will switch to girls' health and education, and universal basic income, which Dorsey says "represent the best long-term solutions to the existential problems facing the world".
Many CEOs and billionaires have been criticized for keeping quiet amid the pandemic. With systems collapsing, and people losing their jobs all around them, those with the capacity to offer the greatest financial assistance have largely remained out of the picture, with some even seeking additional government funding to prop-up their businesses.
But there are exceptions. Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has donated millions to research and relief efforts through the Chan Zuckerberg initiative, which he operates with his wife Priscilla, while Microsoft founder Bill Gates recently announced that he would be investing billions to fund the construction of factories for COVID-19 vaccines, despite the fact that a lot of that money will go to waste on vaccine trials that don't eventually make it through to production. Yet, even so, building the infrastructure is necessary for testing, which will speed up the process, and ensure the delivery of a viable vaccine faster than normal methods.
Dorsey says that he hopes his donation will inspire others in similar positions as him to do the same.
"Life is too short, so let’s do everything we can today to help people now."
Given that Dorsey is also under pressure to retain his job as Twitter CEO, it's a significant commitment. And it will, indeed, be interesting to see if other billionaires follow Dorsey's lead, and look to donate for the greater good.