Jack Dorsey is giving almost 20% of Square to an organization serving struggling communities

Starting small.
Starting small.
Image: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
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Square CEO Jack Dorsey is donating a significant chunk of his shares in the payment processing company to a new foundation he created to serve struggling communities.

Nestled between Square’s financials in its IPO filing yesterday (Oct. 14), Dorsey revealed he had created the Start Small Foundation to invest in “artists, musicians, and local businesses, with a special focus on underserved communities around the world.” His donated shares will be available for sale in the IPO, with the proceeds to benefit the foundation.

Dorsey—who is also the CEO of Twitter, and Square’s largest shareholder with 71 million shares—has given 15 million shares to Start Small, for sale during the IPO, and pledged another 40 million in the future. “I’d rather have a smaller part of something big than a bigger part of something small,” he said in the regulatory filing. The total number of shares represents 19% of Square’s shares outstanding.

Dorsey later said in a tweet that the organization’s first investment will be in Ferguson, Missouri.

The shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was killed by a white Ferguson police officer last year, sparked widespread protests, unrest, and a national conversation around racism and police brutality. A spokesman for the city of Ferguson told the St. Louis Business Journal that it had not been contacted by Dorsey or his foundation.

It remains unclear how Start Small intends to invest in Ferguson. But it’s possible it could issue loans to small businesses, similar to how Square Capital, the financing arm of the payment company, works. Square declined to comment.