Jack Dorsey creates $1B COVID-19 relief fund using Square equity

Jake Bright

Jack Dorsey announced in a series of tweets today that he is shifting $1 billion in his Square equity to create a fund dedicated to COVID-19 relief. The Twitter and Square CEO is calling the fund Start Small and posting a tally of disbursements and recipients in a public spreadsheet.

Dorsey said in his announcement that the new initiative will shift the focus to other causes at some point, naming health and education for girls and universal basic income

The first Start Small contribution listed is $100,000 to America's Food Fund — an effort led by Leonardo DiCaprio and Laurene Powell Jobs dedicated to providing meals to vulnerable populations disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other top backers of America's Food Fund include Oprah Winfrey ($1 million) and Apple ($5 million), according to the organization's GoFundMe page.

That's what we know so far from a tweet posted Tuesday afternoon by the American tech entrepreneur who co-founded and leads not one, but two publicly listed companies.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

On why he sourced the equity for Start Small from his payments company Square, vs. Twitter, "I own a lot more Square. And I’ll need to pace the sales over some time," Jack said in a subsequent tweet.

There's still a lot to learn about Dorsey's new initiative, including how it will be managed, whether it will make investments (along with donations) and exactly how those interested pursue funding.

TechCrunch inquired with Square for those details. The company’s Head of Product Communications Eitan Bencuya said there was “nothing to share beyond Jack’s Tweets.” On how to apply for funds from Start Small, he directed those interested to Dorsey’s tweet saying “suggestions welcome” —  an indication that ventures should pitch directly to the Square CEO’s Twitter handle.

Update: This story was updated to include input from Square.