Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey is donating $5 million to Andrew Yang’s Humanity Forward nonprofit, the former presidential candidate announced on Thursday, to provide 20,000 microgrants of $250 through the nonprofit’s direct cash assistance program.
“Not only will Jack’s donation directly impact tens of thousands of people in need during the current economic downturn, it will help Humanity Forward and our movement continue to make a case for Universal Basic Income (UBI) in the United States,” Yang said in a statement. The announcement came during a conversation on the Yang Speaks podcast.
The money will be administered through Humanity Forward’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, which, while it doesn’t target areas specifically based on coronavirus cases, provides one-time cash payments to low-income workers most likely to be affected by the virus’s impact on the economy.
Yang launched Humanity Forward in March after ending his run for the presidency to focus on policies for a more “human-centered America.” In addition to activating new voters, the organization aimed to provide resources to political candidates who support a universal basic income (UBI), an idea that was the centerpiece of Yang’s campaign platform. The campaign envisioned a “Freedom Dividend” of $1,000 paid monthly to working-age Americans and funded by a sales tax.
Dorsey’s donation comes via his Start Small fund, which he launched by donating $1 billion of his equity in Square. The fund is initially targeted at relief from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Once the pandemic has abated, Dorsey said he also plans to fund education for girls and UBI through Start Small. The organization logs donations in a publicly available spreadsheet.
Dorsey, who donated to Yang’s primary campaign, appeared on Yang’s podcast to announce the donation, telling listeners that UBI would grow more important as more industries turn to automation. “UBI to me represents a floor,” Dorsey said on the podcast. “A floor that people can stand on, and have the knowledge and peace of mind that they could survive and eat and feed their children while they are learning how to transition into this new world.”