Donation The Power of Giving

Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey Pledges $1 Billion to Fight COVID-19

Jack Dorsey founded Twitter, perhaps the most impactful of all the social media giants, in 2006 when he was 30 years old. He followed it up by developing Square, a banking company facilitating e-payments via smart phone. Seven years later, only hours after Twitter went public, Dorsey became a billionaire. Now in 2020, his net worth is estimated around $5.5 billion.

On Tuesday, April 7th, Dorsey announced that he would be donating $1 billion to COVID-19 response and relief efforts. He’s going to liquidate that amount by selling his shares of Square stock over the next year or so via his newly founded foundation, Start Small. The foundation, which is currently an LLC for the purpose of selling off those shares at a rate planned to impact their value as little as possible, will transparently distribute the funds to relief efforts around the world.

“After we disarm this pandemic,” tweeted Dorsey, “the focus will shift to girl’s [sic] health and education, and UBI.” 

He continued that it would operate with complete transparency, all finances tracked in a publicly available google worksheet.

Dorsey may keep a lower profile than his counterpart social media icon, Mark Zuckerburg, but he’s been a large name in philanthropy from his start. In the last few years alone, he’s funded the needs of 600 Missouri public schools, donated a third of a million to the massive reforestation project #TeamTrees, and gave back 10% of his stock in Square to distribute among his employees. He’s also made multiple donations to Democratic party candidates, including Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard.

This $1 billion donation is the largest private donation to any global cause in over two decades, since CNN founder Ted Turner pledged $1 billion to help create the United Nations Foundation in 1997. It represents between a third and a fifth of his full fortune, depending on how you work out his net worth.

Photo: Editorial credit: JStone /

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The Home Depot Donates Its Entire Supply of Masks to Fight Coronavirus

Prior to the current international health crisis, most health care workers would rarely need an N95 mask. The tight-fitting respirators use non-woven fibers to keep particles as small as viroids from passing through, either in or out, and they’re excessive for most health-care uses. Physician Sidnee McElroy, doctor and educator, reports that before COVID-19, she’d only worn one on the rare occasions she encountered a patient with active tuberculosis.

Suddenly, with the pandemic spread of the new variety of coronavirus, N95s are both vital and desperately under-manufactured. Health-care workers treating COVID-19 patients are reusing their masks or improvising inadequate versions from home-made supplies. Largely due to shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), doctors and nurses have been over-represented among the infected, even among the dead.

The Home Depot, the large home improvement and construction supply company, is stepping into a medical supplier role in response to the shortages. Announced on April 1 but no April Fool’s joke, the company will be halting all private sales of N95 masks and donating their entire supply to hospitals, health care workers, and first responders.

The Home Depot typically sells them to contractors because they’re a common protection for people working in high-particle jobs, like dry wall, cement-cutting, or mining, or for people risking infection such as sanitation workers or exterminators. They were first invented for coal miners.

Several weeks ago, the company ceased resupplying masks to individual stores and asked each store to donate whatever they have left in supply locally. But when stores continued to sell them to the public, the corporate directive was put out, called a ‘stop sale.’

The corporation is also donating other relevant PPE as they find it in inventory. They will continue to use their supply chain and distributors to try to find more supplies to make them available to health-care workers.

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Rihanna Donates $5 Million to COVID-19 Response Efforts in At-Risk Communities.

The Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) was founded in 2012 by singing star Rihanna and named for her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. The Foundation is dedicated to healthcare, educational reform, and emergency response. According to the Foundation’s Wikipedia page, “One of the core pillars of the Clara Lionel Foundation’s work is to transform the way the world responds to natural disasters.”

COVID-19 isn’t a hurricane, a flood, or a famine, but it is certainly a natural disaster, and in response, Rihanna and CLF have donated $5 million to front-line disaster response efforts in at-risk communities.

The $5 million will be portioned out to Direct Relief, Feeding America, the International Rescue Committee, Partners in Health, and the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, all groups helping to make sure that underserved communities maintain access to healthcare, food, and elder care during this difficult time.

“Never has it been more important or urgent to protect and prepare marginalized and underserved communities – those who will be hit hardest by this pandemic,” said Justine Lucas, the executive director of CLF.

Along with the large divided donation, Rihanna will be helping local food banks in at-risk communities in the U.S., Haiti, and Malawi, ensuring they can feed the elderly who should not under any circumstances be leaving their homes in this time. She will also be looking into ways to support accelerated testing efforts and provide protective equipment to health workers who are struggling to get it. She has already donated $700,000 worth of medical ventilators to her home country of Barbados.

This is a consistent area of focus for the superstar and her foundation; after Hurricane Dorian, CLF focused their efforts on mobile medical coverage and hospital rebuilding efforts in the hard-hit Bahamas. And since their inception, CLF has been working in conjunction with Engineers Without Borders to make hospitals more disaster-proof around the Caribbean.

Source: Harper’s Bazaar

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Action Movie Icon Donnie Yen Donates to Wuhan Medical Workers

Donnie Yen Ji-dan, or just Donnie Yen to most of the world, is a gem of the Hong Kong movie industry. He does everything; actor, director, producer, stuntman, choreographer. And for years now, philanthropist as well.

The star of international blockbuster Ip Man, a biographical film about the man who taught Bruce Lee martial arts, Yen is without doubt the highest paid actor in Asia. In 2013, for instance, he made HK$220 million (over US$28 million) for four projects and six ads.

On Wednesday, February 19th, Yen posted a half-minute video to Weibo, a Chinese social media site. In the video, he spoke Mandarin. Here is a partial translation, according to the South China Morning Post:

“Hello everyone, I am Yen Ji-dan. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the medical frontline workers [in China]. In this critical moment, everyone please protect yourself well by wearing a mask and washing your hands more often. Distance yourself from the virus but don’t distance love. I believe our country will win the battle against the virus and have the situation under control. Wuhan add oil, China add oil.”

The last line is a colloquial exhortation to work harder, to apply more effort. To that end, he accompanied his post with a donation of HK$1 million (US$128,353) to the medical workers in Wuhan. It’s unclear if it is a direct donation or if it is given to the hospitals and/or government in the area, but it’s going to be a valuable help to those fighting COVID-19, either way.

Yen has a history of philanthropy. In 2012 and 2015, he founded two charitable funds. The first was “Go.Asia,” a platform to help people donate to local communities. The second was Yen’s Honour Protection Fund, a legal fund for people to protect themselves from defamation.

Source: South China Morning Post

Editorial credit: Tinseltown /

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Donald Trump Donates 2019 Fourth Quarter Salary to Fight COVID-19

Very early in his 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump pledged that he would not be accepting any of his Presidential salary in his first term, and to date he has largely kept that promise. He donates each quarterly paycheck to a different cause. So far, those causes have included the National Park Service, the Department of Education, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Small Business Administration, the office of the Surgeon General, and several more, mostly earmarked for specific programs like a STEM camp for children and caregiver programs for disabled veterans.

In the growing panic of COVID-19, the President and his office have made the decision to donate his 2019 fourth quarter salary to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health to support research and containment of the disease.

The $100,000 donation (as yet unconfirmed) won’t go far, but it is a note-worthy gesture, coming only days after the President spoke on TV calling concern about the virus a hoax targeted to undercut his re-election. Since that speech, American deaths from the virus have gone from zero to seven, and world-wide deaths have crossed 3000.

Donating the Presidential salary has become a small tradition for presidents who came from wealth. President Trump follows in the footsteps of John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover. Kennedy, coming from a billionaire family with a $10 million trust fund of his own, donated the wages of his office to many charities, mostly to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the United Negro College Fund, and the Cuban Families Committee. Hoover, a multimillionaire in his own right, gave away his salary to many causes, most of them anonymously.

The President was scheduled to visit the CDC and the National Institutes of Health on Tuesday, March 3rd according to the White House, but details of those visits, if they occurred, have not been made public.

Source: CNN, NYPost

Editorial credit: Evan El-Amin /

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Bloomberg Donates $2 Million to Fight Voter Suppression

Having freshly stepped off of the stage of Democrat candidates, Michael Bloomberg has moved immediately into doing his best to boost voter turnout.

“Voter suppression efforts across the country have been a barely disguised effort to keep Black Americans and other Democratic-leaning voters from the polls,” said Bloomberg in a statement on Monday, March 9th. “I’ve always believed we need to make it easier for all citizens to register and vote, not harder.”

Putting his money where his mouth is, Bloomberg took action with a $2 million donation to Collective Future, a nonprofit which partners with grassroots groups to focus on registering black voters in places where many haven’t been registered before.

Collective Future, which is the nonprofit arm of The Collective PAC, has a mission to “fix the challenge of African American underrepresentation in elected seats of power throughout our nation.”

“There is a critical need for Black voter engagement across the country in the 2020 election and beyond and we are deeply grateful to Mike Bloomberg for his partnership and dedication to this critical cause,” said Quentin James, president of The Collective PAC in a statement responding to the donation.

Historically, black voters have faced a number of obstacles in casting their ballots. From the now-illegal literacy tests and poll taxes to voter roll purges alleged to fight voting fraud but disproportionately impacting black communities, those obstacles aren’t over. Bloomberg’s donation will help put feet on the ground towards getting black voters registered and engaged.

Bloomberg, currently #9 on Forbes magazine’s list of the richest people in the world, is worth approximately $56 billion, and has spent billions over the decades to back his political affiliations, which change from time to time. In 2018, he spent hundreds of millions propping up Democratic candidates in the congressional races. He’s pledged to do so again in 2022.

Source: CBS News

Editorial credit: Ron Adar /

Donation The Power of Giving

NBA Athletes Step Up to Pay Laid-Off Arena Employees

Now that many U.S. states have issued guidances recommending against any gathering greater than 250, fifty, or even ten people, of course the industries reliant on massive crowds are suffering.

For instance, the NBA suspended its 2019-2020 season as of March 11th, with no date set to recommence this year. 65 of the 82 games have already been played, but that’s still 15 games lost. For the team owners, it’s a major and irritating inconvenience. But for the thousands and thousands of employees lower down the pole, the concession staff, ushers, and custodians, it’s a catastrophic loss of wages.

In response to this on March 12th, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love announced on Instagram that he’d be donating $100,000 to support the staff in his team’s home arena.

“Pandemics are not just a medical phenomenon. They affect individuals and society on so many levels…” he said in his Instagram. “Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don’t feel the same. Be safe and make informed decisions during this time. And I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need — whether that means supporting your local charities that are canceling events, or checking in on your colleagues and family.”

He was swiftly joined by other players. Piston’s forward Blake Griffen matched, with his $100,000 going to the staff at Detroit’s Little Ceasars Arena. Zion Williamson, rookie for the New Orleans Pelicans pledged to cover the salaries of all workers at his home stadium for 30 days, if they needed it.

By March 13th, an owner joined the giving – The Golden State Warriors as a unit – owners, players, and coaches – pledged $1 million to a relief fund for the employees of their own Chase Center.

“These are the folks who make our games possible,” said Williamson on Instagram, summing up just how much every professional athlete, every coach, and every team owner owes to these people.


Rockefeller Foundation to Invest $65M in Low-Wage Workers

On February 25, the Rockefeller Foundation announced a new campaign aimed at lifting marginalized communities out of poverty. To achieve this objective, the Foundation is investing $65 million into programs that will help 10 million U.S. workers and their families meet their basic needs.

“Far too many people work hard and play by the rules, but the American Dream feels more out of reach than ever before—and for many marginalized communities, it was hardly accessible to begin with,” said Rockefeller Foundation President Rajiv Shah. “Over our 106-year history, The Rockefeller Foundation has stepped up during our country’s most critical moments. To meet the moment today and going forward, we have to fight on every front to expand opportunity for America’s working families.”

According to the Foundation, more than 44 million working households in the U.S. struggle to pay their bills each month. As part of its investment strategy, the Foundation is launching the U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative, which will focus on expanding and modernizing economic policies like the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), two of the most effective tools for lifting families out of poverty.

The Initiative will also focus on encouraging public-private partnerships to invest in “Opportunity Zones” as part of a new tax policy designed to spur economic growth in distressed communities. Efforts are currently underway in the following areas: Atlanta, GA, Boston, MA, Dallas, TX, Louisville, KY, Miami, FL, Newark, NJ, New Orleans, LA, Norfolk, VA, Pittsburgh, PA, Oakland, CA., Seattle, WA, St. Louis, MO, and Washington D.C.

“There is no investment in America that gets a better ROI than investment in an equitable future for America’s workers,” said Otis Rolley, managing director and acting senior vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation’s U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative. “Our team hit the ground running and are already supporting proven economic policies and promoting grassroots partnerships to spur greater investment in low-wage workers and low-income communities all across the country.”


Technology Trends That Will Shift the Way Nonprofits Operate in 2020


In this article, philanthropy expert and technology guru Madeline Duva outlines the three tech trends that will revolutionize the nonprofit sector in 2020.


1. Nonprofits Will Team Up to Address Common Concerns

“Organizations like the JPB Foundation in New York City are leading by example, employing a hub model that recognizes complex social issues cannot be solved by single players alone, but rather require a host of like-minded organizations working in concert toward a single goal,” says Duva, CEO of Fluxx, a cloud-based grant management platform that caters to small, midsize, and large nonprofits. “To achieve this, the JPB Foundation employs a collaborative model in which it funds a ‘hub organization’ or ‘anchor’ and then funds a network of surrounding organizations that work together to pool resources, deploy knowledge, and create a more effective and supportive ecosystem.”


2. More Organizations Will Begin Using AI-Based Technology

“The applications of AI in philanthropy are wide-ranging, but perhaps one of the most promising examples can be found in the work accomplished by journalistic nonprofits, which are adopting innovative AI-based technologies to discover insights into social media and the way we consume information,” Duva explained. “Notably, according to a report published by Fast Company, nonprofit news organization ProPublica developed ‘a new approach to investigative reporting that uses technology like machine learning and chatbots’ to look into algorithms that affect our lives.”


3. Blockchain Will Become Essential in Philanthropy

“Whether it’s donors receiving gifts in crypto, tracking malaria drugs with a blockchain marker, or adopting a cryptocurrency system for refugees in unbanked nations, this technology represents a tangible opportunity to overcome real barriers to progress and innovation,” Duva stated. “As use cases proliferate and word of mouth around blockchain’s effectiveness continues to spread, so, too, will we see more philanthropic organizations investigate how they can best integrate this technology into their global and national missions.”


Top Nonprofit Trends of 2019

The nonprofit sector is rapidly evolving. Charities that want to succeed in the coming year will need to stay ahead of the curve by studying the list below, which contains the top nonprofit trends of 2019.

Rejecting Tainted Money

Fundraising ethics became a central concern in 2019 amid several scandals involving high-profile donors. For example, many organizations struggled to distance themselves from philanthropist Jeffrey Epstein after he was charged with child sex trafficking crimes.

Similarly, institutions that received millions of dollars from the Sackler family attempted to cut ties after news reports surfaced of the family’s alleged role in the opioid crisis.

Focusing on Diversity

While a lot of progress has been made in regards to hiring more people of color, data collected from the 100 biggest charities shows that white men still make up the majority of chief executives.

Increasing Wages

Earlier this year, more than 2,500 museum workers disclosed their salaries in a crowdsourced spreadsheet that has since gone viral. The results showed that many of the lowest paid workers do not earn enough to keep up with the cost of living. As a result, many organizations are making it a priority to increase wages.

Mass Exodus of Fundraisers

A survey conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in conjunction with the Association of Fundraising Professionals revealed that half of fundraisers are looking to leave their jobs due to low wages, too much pressure to reach unrealistic goals, and frustrating organizational structures.

Fundraising with Artificial Intelligence

Advances in technology have made it possible for charities to more efficiently target donors. There are now artificial intelligence programs that can identify donors’ passions and make appeals to them based on their personal interests. While there is excitement regarding the benefits of this new technology, some experts worry that it will result in fewer jobs for real people.

Why do these nonprofit trends matter? Because in the end, it is the organizations that know how to navigate these changes that will thrive in 2020.