Dorsey, who has a net worth of about $3.3 billion according to Forbes, announced the plan Tuesday on Twitter. He said the $1 billion represents about 28% of his wealth. The funds will be distributed through his Start Small LLC charitable fund.
“Why now? The needs are increasingly urgent, and I want to see the impact in my lifetime,” Dorsey, 43, wrote on Twitter. “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.”
According to a Google Doc that Dorsey set up to disclose his donations, the first funding he contributed was $100,000 on April 2 to America’s Food Fund, an initiative launched by Leonardo DiCaprio, Apple, Laurene Powell Jobs, and the Ford Foundation and backed by Oprah Winfrey to provide food to those in need during the coronavirus crisis.
Dorsey said that “After we disarm this pandemic,” the focus of the fund will shift to two other causes: girls health and education and universal basic income (UBI). That’s because “I believe they represent the best long-term solutions to the existential problems facing the world,” he wrote. “UBI is a great idea needing experimentation. Girl’s health and education is critical to balance.”
Dorsey also explained that he is tapping into his Square holdings because “I own a lot more Square” than Twitter equity, and that he will need to pace sales of the stock “over some time.” He added, “The impact this money will have should benefit both companies over the long-term because it’s helping the people we want to serve.”
According to Dorsey, he has previously donated $40 million to “many orgs with proven impact and efficiency in the past, mostly anonymously” but said he is making his contributions public because, “It’s important to show my work so I and others can learn.”
Dorsey’s dual-CEO status has raised questions among investors about how effectively he’s able to lead Twitter and Square simultaneously. In March, Twitter reached an agreement with activist investor Elliott Management — which reportedly had been looking to oust Dorsey — under which Dorsey remained chief exec of the social network. In addition, private-equity firm Silver Lake invested $1 billion in Twitter, while Twitter also appointed Elliott and Silver Lake execs to its board.