Dorsey said he gave “$3mm to Colin @Kaepernick7’s @yourrightscamp to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization to elevate the next generation of change leaders.”
The tech billionaire’s donation comes as the U.S. is in its second week of mass protests over the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died while in Minneapolis police custody.
Dorsey’s donation comes through his Small Grants fund, under which he has pledged to give away nearly one-third of his wealth — through stock holdings in Square that are currently worth $1.7 billion — to COVID-19 relief and other causes.
Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, drew widespread attention for kneeling in protest of racial injustice during the national anthem in 2016. (Donald Trump angrily lashed out at Kaepernick and other NFL players who joined the silent protests, calling them “sons of bitches” and urging teams to fire them.) After the 49ers told Kaepernick in early 2017 they planned to release him, he opted to become a free agent. Kaepernick later alleged the NFL and team owners colluded to blacklist him for his pregame protests; last year he reached a settlement with the league whose terms were not disclosed.
Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp says it has engaged with more than 1,400 people at events in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Oakland, Calif., and Amsterdam. The organization last week launched a fund to provide legal representation and resources for people arrested at protests.
Dorsey also announced several other donations, including $5 million to World Central Kitchen to support the Restaurants for the People Program in Oakland, Calif.; $1 million to DigDeep, dedicated to providing hot and cold running water to members of the Navajo Nation; and $500,000 to SisterHearts, a thrift store in Louisiana that gives ex-offenders “a safe environment to achieve their goals with dignity.”
To date, Dorsey’s Start Small has distributed $88.5 million in donations. Those have included multiple contributions in partnership with Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation and Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Fund, as well as $10 million to CORE, co-founded by Sean Penn, which provides coronavirus testing and support to communities affected by or vulnerable to crisis in Haiti, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S.
Dorsey previously said Start Small would focus on coronavirus-related causes, after which it would shift toward two other causes: girls health and education and universal basic income (UBI).
Separately, Twitter has been in Donald Trump’s crosshairs after the social network applied fact-check labels to his inaccurate tweets about mail-in voting (and then hid another Trump tweet suggesting Minneapolis protesters would be shot). Trump, upset over Twitter’s fact-checking action, issued an executive order aiming to remove Twitter’s legal protections for speech on its platform; that prompted a lawsuit saying Trump’s order violates the First Amendment. So far, Dorsey and Twitter have not acted on calls for the social network to ban Trump altogether.