Twitter boss Jack Dorsey pledges $1bn to fight coronavirus pandemic

Twitter founder and boss Jack Dorsey has set aside $1bn (£812m) in stock to help fund relief efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Dorsey, who is also chief executive of the financial payments startup Square, will give the new venture shares from his Square holdings.

The 43-year-old announced the initiative called Start Small in a series of tweets, and said the contribution amounts to 28% of his fortune.

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:

— jack (@jack) April 7, 2020

Mr Dorsey, who for years has kept details of his charitable efforts private, said the organisation will disclose all transfers, sales and grants on a public Google sheets document.

Start Small will not be limited to fighting the coronaviruspandemic, Mr Dorsey wrote in a thread of six tweets.

“After we have disarmed this pandemic,” he wrote, the organisation will shift its focus to girls’ health and education, and research into universal basic income – the idea that governments should guarantee a minimum income for all citizens.

Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai tweeted: “Amazing news! Thank you, @Jack, for your generosity and for recognising that educated girls make the world safer and healthier for everyone.”

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Donald Trump conceded that the US is suffering a 'very, very painful week'
Image:A US health worker with his head in his hands as the pandemic worsens

Dorsey, whose net worth is estimated at $3.3bn (£2.7bn) by Forbes, also said that he was pledging his stake in Square

instead of Twitter because he owns a bigger portion of the payments processor.

He said that he would pace the sale of the pledged shares over time.

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Last month Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $25m (£20m) to support the US health corps.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the donation was coming from the company and would help cover costs like temporary housing near healthcare sites, childcare costs and licensing fees.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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