April 8—Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stated he would donate $1 billion of his stake in Square to aid coronavirus pandemic relief efforts yesterday. The executive will transfer his payment company stock to his Start Small Foundation to facilitate disbursement. The Square cofounder also published a Google Document that will track how the charitable contribution is distributed.
Details of Jack Dorsey’s $1 Billion COVID-19 Pledge
Though laudable, Dorsey’s pledge takes some unpacking to be understood. The billionaire hasn’t liquidated 20 million shares of Square stock; he’s signing it over to a donor-advised charitable fund he founded. Start Small will use the gifted equity to issue grants to help organizations that are providing coronavirus pandemic relief.
Thus far, the fund has given $100,000 to America’s Food Fund to give “meals to people impacted by COVID-19.”
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
It’s also worth noting that Start Small doesn’t have access to 28 percent of Dorsey’s fortune just yet. A Square representative told Bloomberg the equity transfer could take years to complete. Nevertheless, the executive’s pledge represents the largest single charitable contribution to the coronavirus relief effort.
Dorsey tweeted once COVID-19 is “disarmed,” Start Small will shift focus to support “girl’s health and education, and UBI (universal basic income).” The 43-year-old noted those two causes “represent the best long-term solutions to the existential problems facing the world.”
The executive also explained while he previously donated $40 million privately, he publicized his coronavirus contribution to inspire others.
Tech Sector Gives Back
Since the COVID-19 outbreak began in late December, U.S. organizations and individuals have contributed $2.85 billion to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. The technology sector has done its part to aid the relief effort by donating considerable capital and other resources.
Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos announced he would contribute $100 million to a nonprofit organization called Feeding America to alleviate COVID-19 exacerbated food insecurity. In response, the group said the billionaire’s gift would let it serve more meals to millions of disadvantaged people.
Earlier this month, Dell CEO Michael Dell revealed the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation would give $100 million to organizations combating the coronavirus pandemic. The executive explained $80 million of the gift would go to aiding communities affected by the viral outbreak.
Similarly, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda are dedicating $125 million to facilities that are developing coronavirus vaccines. Also, Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg and his spouse Priscilla Chan have committed $25 million to COVID-19 treatment research.
Various tech firms have also have stepped up to address the global health crisis.
Tesla donated much-needed personal protective equipment to frontline medical professionals and designed a ventilator made from repurposed Model 3 parts. Electronics manufacturer Flex will use its production line to produce 30,000 breathing machines monthly starting in May. Also, Apple is sending one million face shields a week to healthcare workers treating pandemic afflicted patients.
In addition, Google is making an effort to help young people in its home state cope with coronavirus related school closures. The conglomerate is donating 4,000 Chromebooks and 100,000 WiFi hotspots to California-based students who couldn’t access distance learning platforms.
Although the tech sector receives a lot of justified criticism, it’s heartening to see the industry embrace selflessness in a time of global crisis.