- Jack Dorsey, the CEO of both Twitter and Square, announced on Twitter he created a new charity fund backed by $1 billion of his equity in Square.
- Dorsey estimated it amounts to about 28% of his total wealth.
- The fund, named Start Small LLC, will initially focus on helping tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
- Eventually, the fund will shift its attention to funding girls’ health and education and universal basic income.
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Jack Dorsey is using his substantial wealth to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Dorsey, who is the CEO of both Twitter and Square, announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he’s created a new fund called Start Small LLC that will be funded by $1 billion in his Square equity. He said it’s about 28% of his wealth.
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 the coronavirus outbreak has been contained, Start Small will shift its focus to funding girls’ health and education, as well as universal basic income, a regular cash payment made to citizens by the government, Dorsey said.
"Why UBI and girl's health and education? I believe they represent the best long-term solutions to the existential problems facing the world," Dorsey said in a follow-up tweet. "UBI is a great idea needing experimentation. Girl's health and education is critical to balance."
Dorsey said that having a separate LLC allows for some flexibility and specifically dedicates his shares to causes. Start Small will hand out grants directly to beneficiaries, which Dorsey said he's done in the past anonymously to the tune of $40 million. Going forward, all the grants will be public "so I and others can learn," Dorsey said.
"Suggestions welcome. Drop your cash app ;)," Dorsey tweeted.
Dorsey will be sharing all transactions made by the fund in a public spreadsheet, beginning with $100,000, which he gave to America's Food Fund.
Start Small is funded by Square equity because Dorsey owns more shares, and he'll need to pace sales of the shares over time, he said. He decided to set up Start Small now because "the needs are increasingly urgent," and he said he wanted "to see the impact in my lifetime."
Since its founding in 2009 by Dorsey and Jim McKelvey, Square has continued to grow market share as an alternative payments company to traditional payments infrastructures. In 2013, Square launched the Cash App, a mobile app that allows users to transfer money and invest.
A spokesperson for Square declined to comment.
"I hope this inspires others to do something similar," Dorsey said. "Life is too short, so let's do everything we can today to help people now."