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Square, Twitter Co-founder Jack Dorsey Pledges $1B To Coronavirus Relief

The funding, coming from the sales of his donation of Square stock to the Start Small Foundation, is also slated to help promote universal basic income and girls' education once the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic ends.

Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of both Twitter and Square, on Tuesday is pledging $1 billion of his Square stock, or 28 percent of his total wealth, to COVID-19 coronavirus relief.

The $1 billion in relief funding, announced via tweet from Dorsey, will be managed through the Start Small Foundation, which Dorsey also founded.

Dorsey also wrote that his pledge will go beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. "After we disarm this pandemic, the focus will shift to girl’s [sic] health and education, and UBI. It will operate transparently," he wrote in his Twitter feed.

[Related: Coronavirus Stimulus Package: Small Business Loans Could Have Big Channel Impact]

"UBI" refers to universal basic income, which is part of a movement to give everyone a specific amount of money regardless of their income level or employment status as a way to help reduce income inequality.

Dorsey wrote that he is interested in universal basic income and girls’ health and education because they "represent the best long-term solutions to the existential problems facing the world. UBI is a great idea needing experimentation. Girl’s health and education is critical to balance."

The Start Small Foundation was first introduced in the Square IPO filing of October, 2015.

In the IPO, Dorsey wrote, "I believe so much in the potential of this company to drive positive impact in my lifetime that over the past two years I have given over 15 million shares, or 20% of my own equity, back to both Square and the Start Small Foundation, a new organization I created to meaningfully invest in the folks who inspire us: artists, musicians, and local businesses, with a special focus on underserved communities around the world. The shares being made available for the directed share program in this offering are being sold by the Start Small Foundation, giving Square customers the ability to buy equity to support the Foundation.”

At the time, he also committed to giving 40 million more of his shares in Square to Start Small. "I’d rather have a smaller part of something big than a bigger part of something small," he wrote.

Dorsey also pledged to make all Start Small activities transparent via a Google Docs spreadsheet. That spreadsheet shows shows a current balance in Start Small of just under $998 million, and shows that the organization last week donated $100,000 to America's Food Fund to help send meals to people impacted by COVID-19. America's Food Fund is led by actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple Co-founder Steve Jobs.

Dorsey also wrote that Start Small is primarily funded with shares of Square, not Twitter. "I own a lot more Square," he wrote.

Dorsey's $1 billion commitment to funding COVID-19 coronavirus relief stands out at a time when the IT industry is pledging millions of dollars to help people and businesses impacted by the pandemic.

This includes a $50-million commitment from Intel, and a $100-million commitment from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

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