The world's wealthiest people are putting hundreds of millions behind the fight against the Corona pandemic.
This week the 43-year-old Twitter founder and CEO announced a US$1 billion gift to Corona virus relief; which amounts to around 28 percent of his wealth. Dorsey, who is also the CEO of mobile payments company Square, announced he will set up a new charitable fund to distribute the donation. After the dust eventually settles on Corona, he plans to donate more to girl's health and education and universal basic income, according to a report in Business Insider.
The retired Alibaba founder and executive chairman announced at the end of January a gift of 100 million yuan (US$14.9 million) which should go towards developing a vaccine, he announced over Weibo. The donation was to be split between two government research organisations. Ma, China's richest man, later donated another US$2.15 million to Australia's Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity to support research into a vaccine, and sent crates of masks and testing kits to global areas of need.
At the end of March, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr Priscilla Chan, pledged US$25 million to a Bill and Melinda Gates accelerator fund for research into COVID-19 treatments. They made the gift through their foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
In early February Hong Kong's richest man, Li Ka-shing, announced he would donate HK$100 million (US$13 million) to Corona, specifically to help workers in Wuhan. The C.K. Hutchisons chairman said his donation would be distributed via The Red Cross Society of China, a government organised non-profit. His foundation is also reportedly distributing medical supplies to front line workers in Hong Kong and China.
Premji, one of India’s most generous philanthropists, earmarked around US$150 million to fight Corona virus. Coming as a joint effort by his eponymous foundation and Wipro, the IT firm he founded, the Azim Premji Foundation is donating US$132 million, Wipro, around US$14 million, and Wipro Enterprises around US$4 million. The funds will go towards immediate humanitarian aid efforts.
Bill and Melinda Gates
In early February the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged US$100 million for what Gates referred to as a "once in a century pathogen". The funds will go to improve detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations in Africa and South Asia; and accelerate the development of vaccines, drugs and diagnostics said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in a press release. The new funding is inclusive of US$10m the foundation committed to the outbreak in late January.
Through his Open Society Foundation, American-Hungarian billionaire George Soros pledged US$2.2 million to two European cities - Budapest and Milan - last month. Soros, who was born in Budapest, donated half the gift to the Hungarian capital to help the homeless and elderly. The other half will go to help the Italian city recover from the devastation of COVID-19.