SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Twitter and Square Co-Founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey donates $3 million through his #StartSmall initiative to support’s digital initiatives that are reimagining education during COVID-19 and beyond. This investment is a lead gift in the BUILD Opportunity campaign focused on advancing racial equity through youth entrepreneurship.

Start Small’s funding will help scale BUILD’s first digital curriculum, the COVID-19 Virtual Design Challenge, where students apply real world project-based learning and design thinking to create youth-driven solutions for mental and physical wellness during the pandemic. The Challenge helps students channel their anxiety and fear into power and purpose. More digital programming is currently in development, particularly with a focus on racial and economic justice. 

“#StartSmall’s investment will make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of young people across the nation who are grappling with COVID-19 right now as they head back to school,” said Ayele Shakur, BUILD CEO. “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.”

The investment will also support an innovative plan for school reopening called Campus Without Walls, which leverages the power of public schools and technology to dismantle de facto school segregation and open access to higher quality teaching and learning citywide, regardless of a student’s zip code or assigned school. The Campus Without Walls pilot, spearheaded by BUILD and Open Opportunity-Massachusetts, launches this school year in Boston Public Schools.

BUILD’s mission is to use entrepreneurship to ignite the potential of youth from under-resourced communities and propel them to high school, college, and career success. As a longtime member of BUILD’s National Board of Directors, Dorsey’s grant, which came through his #startsmall initiative, will help position BUILD as the leading youth entrepreneurship program for underserved communities in America. 

The 3-year BUILD Opportunity strategic initiative aims to bring youth entrepreneurship to 100,000+ students and educators by 2023. Other recent BUILD Opportunity milestones include: 

  • Partnering with Comcast NBCUniversal to launch BUILD’s first digital offering, the COVID-19 Virtual Design Challenge, which is now available as an Open Educational Resource free of charge for educators across the country to use with their students; 
  • Acquisition of SEED SPOT’s high-impact social entrepreneurial curriculum for high school students (Press Release); 
  • Endorsing the legislative bill: 21st Century Youth Entrepreneurship Act, which would help expand entrepreneurship programs within the K-12 public school system.

To increase open opportunity nationwide, BUILD is asking educators, mentors, and nonprofits to sign up for the challenge and for everyone to share BUILD’s first digital curriculum with their network.

#startsmall is Jack Dorsey’s philanthropic initiative to fund global COVID-19 relief, girls health and education, and efforts towards Universal Basic Income. Dorsey transferred $1 billion (28% of his wealth) to #startsmall in 2020.

To Read the Full Press Release visit:

Media Contact

Ed Wilson
National Director of Philanthropy
[email protected]


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