Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey is donating $3 million to help fund Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), a new coalition of 15 mayors across the country who want to explore the idea of universal basic income — a recurring payment to residents — in their cities.
The idea of governments paying a basic income to citizens has gained momentum in response to the threat to jobs from artificial intelligence.
The premise of universal basic income (UBI) is that every individual in a country will receive a cash payment at regular intervals, without any requirement to work or qualify for it.
Dorsey is making the donation from #startsmall, his philanthropic limited liability company, which he launched on April 7 by transferring $1 billion worth of Square shares — then 28% of his net worth — to the LLC.
Dorsey said he would primarily focus his charitable efforts on Covid-19 relief, and also fund efforts to improve girl’s health and education, as well as UBI experimentation.
The majority of the gift will help the mayors create pilot programs for universal basic income (UBI) in their cities, which include Newark, Atlanta, Seattle, Los Angeles, Compton, Long Beach, Pittsburgh, Oakland and more.
Mr Dorsey tweeted: "This is one tool to close the wealth and income gap, level systemic race and gender inequalities and create economic security for families".
The project was founded by Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs, who wants it to become a national programme that will extend beyond the current pandemic.
Dorsey is attempting to reinvent the Californian city he grew up in and has been experimenting with the idea of a universal income since 2018, paying $500 a month to 125 residents.
To help further experimentation with UBI, Dorsey has given $11.2 million to GiveDirectly, a nonprofit that has become a favourite of Silicon Valley’s tech elite due to its promising work with UBI in Kenya and Uganda.
Dorsey’s gifts to GiveDirectly are earmarked for cash disbursements to low-income families that have been affected by Covid-19. He gave another $5 million to Humanity Forward, Yang’s nonprofit, that will also give cash disbursements to low-income families affected by the pandemic.