Industry News

Twitter CEO Invests $3 Million to Scale BUILD’s Equity-Focused Curriculum

By Rebecca Hinkle
October 13, 2020

Jack Dorsey, the Co-Founder and CEO of Twitter and Square, announced an investment of $3 million through the charitable organization #StartSmall to BUILD ( The funds will be used to scale and support their digital educational programs, which concentrate on racial equality through youth entrepreneurship.

“This grant will serve as a catalyst to accelerate our digital transformation and ultimately enable BUILD to provide entrepreneurship education to youth in underserved communities across the nation,” said Ayele Shakur, the CEO of BUILD, in a statement.

The funding will specifically assist the COVID-19 Virtual Design Challenge, which will allow its users to incorporate real-world learning and creative thinking to create youth driven solutions directed towards mental and physical wellness.

BUILD Creates Social Entrepreneurship Programs

BUILD was founded in 1999 with a goal to focus on racial and economic inequality and show how experimental learning can change the lives of those from struggling communities. Using a curriculum of six cores: collaboration, grit, problem solving, communication, innovation, and self-management, BUILD works with diverse backgrounds to create success. For students from struggling communities, BUILD’s Opportunity campaign can be life changing.

Since launching, BUILD has grown to operate in five cities across the United States and has partnered with schools across the nation.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, BUILD launched the COVID-19 Virtual Design Challenge. The initiative presents students with an exercise in project-based learning, asking them to create mental health and wellness interventions in response to the pandemic.

The Inequitable Effects of COVID-19

McKinsey & Company research published this summer explores the effect that students of color and from low-income households have faced.

“Learning loss will probably be greatest among low-income, black, and Hispanic students,” the authors write. In the study, the learning loss for students of color and low income were reported to be higher than the typical learning loss during summer breaks.

Learning losses are projected to occur across Black, Hispanic, and low-income communities. The learning loss for regular schools during summer breaks are reported to be 10.3% for African Americans, 9.2% for Hispanics, and 12.4% for low income students.

Jack Dorsey and #StartSmall

Jack Dorsey co-founded Twitter in 2006 and served as the CEO until 2008 when he was forced out of the company. A year later in 2009, Dorsey founded Square, a mobile payment company that would allow users to use their credit cards on a mobile device. Dorsey later returned to Twitter two years later to serve as CEO until 2015.

Earlier this year in April, not long after the coronavirus hit the United States, Dorsey announced he was giving $1 billion to #StartSmall, a public fund being used as a way to provide relief during the pandemic. The public can see at who has made donations, and where those donations are going. It is planned that once the pandemic has slowed down, #StartSmall will shift the focus to girl’s health and education, and Universal Basic Income (UBI).

Featured Image: JD Lasica, Flickr.