By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Tuesday he is setting aside nearly $1 billion of his wealth to aid in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
Dorsey said on his social media platform that the funds will come from his equity in Square, a mobile merchant payments firm that he founded in addition to Twitter.
The funds, totaling about $998 million, represent about 28% of his overall wealth, Dorsey said.
They will go into a limited liability firm that he founded called Start Small, which will then make grants to beneficiary organizations that can be tracked on a publicly-available Google document.
"After we disarm this pandemic, the focus will shift to girls’ health and education and UBI," he said, using an acronym that refers to a universal basic income. "It will operate transparently."
Explaining why the funds will shift to these areas, Dorsey said in follow-on tweets that he believes "they represent the best long-term solutions to the existential problems facing the world."
"The needs are increasingly urgent, and I want to see the impact in my lifetime. 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," he said.
While other celebrities and industry titans have stepped up to donate portions of their wealth to help the global fight against the coronavirus, Dorsey's pledge represents one of the largest.
He is also setting aside his shares in Square as international markets slump.
Square itself is down over 40% since its February high of $85.70. Shares cost about $50.31 as of Tuesday's market close.
In all, Dorsey is transferring 19,833,400 shares to Start Small LLC.