Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey is throwing his weight behind universal basic income.
The Silicon Valley entrepreneur is committing $3 million to Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a new collective of 14 mayors advocating for direct, recurring cash payments to citizens at the local, state, and federal level. The payments seek to reduce economic insecurity and close the wealth and income gap across the United States in the wake of the global pandemic, starting in cities such as Los Angeles; Tacoma, Washington; Atlanta; and Pittsburgh.
Dorsey’s contribution will be made through his Start Small initiative, a $1 billion fund for coronavirus relief efforts unveiled in April. Along with pledging to give away what was at the time one-third of his total assets, Dorsey also promised to disclose each gift on a real-time, public Google Doc. (His contributions thus far include $10 million to provide laptops and internet access for 25,000 public school students in Oakland, California, $10 million to set up free COVID-19 testing sites in vulnerable and underserved communities, and $20 million to deploy digital tools for COVID-19 contact tracing.)
Dorsey also donated $5 million to Humanity Forward, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s nonprofit focused on establishing a universal basic income.
Yang was the first high-profile figure to champion a universal basic income of $1,000 per month during his 2020 campaign run, a concept that seemed radical at the time, but has since been elevated as the coronavirus crisis rocked the economy. In May, Senators Kamala Harris of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Ed Markey of Massachusetts introduced the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act, which would provide $2,000 per month to every individual with an income below $120,000 for the duration of the pandemic, although the proposal has since languished in Congress.