Twitter founder-CEO Jack Dorsey has donated $10 million to CORE, the disaster relief group co-founded by Sean Penn a decade ago. Funds from Dorsey’s #startsmall initiative will expand free COVID-19 testing in cities across the country.
Dorsey launched #startsmall last month for COVID-19 relief, girls health and education,and efforts towards a universal basic income. Dorsey transferred $1 billion, or nearly a third of his net worth, to the new fund, making him the philanthropic standout among executives for the current pandemic.
Said Penn, “Too many others of Nero’s ilk forget that fiddles are not fireproof. His maverick and nimble approach to dispensing this emergency response fund matches the urgency, most typically only seen when corporations identify commercial expediency. If there’s a capitalist future, Jack Dorsey is its leading and razor-sharp edge. CORE is grateful to be among the worldwide organizations in which Jack Dorsey is entrusting with his faith and partnership.”
Penn started CORE after the 2010 Haiti earthquarke and its been operating a dozen COVID-19 test sites across California over the past five weeks. Dorsey’s donation lets it expand and open free test sites into Atlanta, Detroit, New Orleans and the Navajo Nation — focused on vulnerable and underserved communities.
”In our ten years of fundraising efforts, we’ve grown cynical toward most social responsibility campaigns by major brands and corporations, with the exception of leaders like the Benioffs and Parkers,” said CORE co-founder and CEO Ann Lee. “Jack Dorsey is the other side of that coin – walking the walk of corporate sustainability – a human driven visionary whose support we should all seek to reciprocate to ensure that his forward thinking, equitable and compassionate model paves the way for the new age.”
Dorsey announced #startsmall April 7, funding it with his equity in Square, a digital payments company that he also founded. His donation to CORE and other contributions, are noted in a public-facing tracker for operational transparency.
“CORE is an inspiring force for good. Not only in what they’re doing by increasing our testing capacity, but also by how they’re doing it. The open-source approach and work to be a model for others is exactly what this country and world needs right now. It builds trust, and shows a clear way forward. I’m so grateful for Sean, Ann and the incredible CORE team for their innovative focus and disciplined execution,” Dorsey said.
CORE opened its first free drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Los Angeles on March 30, under the leadership of the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles Fire Department. It currently manages a dozen testing sites across California including Malibu, Oakland, Bakersfield and Napa County at the direction of Governor Newsom’s office and with support of The Rockefeller Foundation’s support and the partnerships of World Central Kitchen, Birdwell and Direct Relief.
The first site outside of California opened in Atlanta on April 30. To date, CORE has administered 100,000 free COVID-19 tests.