Jack Dorsey donates $1 billion to fight COVID-19

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Jack Dorsey, CEO and founder of Twitter and payment app Square, said he will donate about 28% of his wealth towards the battle fighting COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 1.4 million people in 184 countries, killing more than 81,000 people.

This will equate to a donation of US$1 billion, the largest sum donated to date after financial contributions COVID-19 from the CEOs of Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

The 43-year-old Jack Dorsey, who made the announcement on his Twitter page, wrote that the “needs are increasingly urgent”. Japan has declared a state of emergency after a sharp increase in cases of COVID-19, as Singapore has begun a partial lockdown and other countries extended stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the disease. In the US, where Dorsey lives, New York has reported its deadliest day in the coronavirus pandemic, with 731 people dying, making a total number of deaths in the state 5,489. In the US in its entirety, there have been 395,612 cases of COVID-19 and 12,790 people dying from the virus.

Jack Dorsey, who did not state where the funds would be used to help in the battle against COVID-19, said he will use the shares he owns in Square to fund the donations which will be distributed through his Start Small Foundation, a limited liability company, which is often criticised for a lack of transparency. Dorsey sought to get ahead of this charge by posting a link to a Google document which will publicly track the fund’s donations.

He said on Twitter that he was using shares of Square and not Twitter because he owned “a lot more” of them. Dorsey’s shares will be sold over time, which could impact on their value and the overall size of the donation.

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Jack Dorsey with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Twitter

Once the Covid-19 pandemic has been “disarmed”, the funds will go toward girls health and education and research into universal basic income.

In a six-part Twitter thread, Dorsey said he wanted to donate to causes where he could see an impact in his lifetime.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has committed US$30 million, the bulk of which is focused on efforts to create a treatment.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has donated $100 million to food banks in the US.

Apple CEO Tim Cook last month reported it had donated US$15 million to help treat those with the coronavirus and to help “lessen the economic and community impacts of the pandemic”.

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