Rihanna and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey donate $15m to mental health services

‘The need for support in communities hardest hit remains dire’, says Clara Lionel Foundation 

Sarah Young
Saturday 20 June 2020 12:40 BST
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Rihanna and Jack Dorsey have teamed up to donate millions of dollars to mental health services amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, the “Work” singer announced that her Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) — which supports and funds education and emergency response programmes around the world — has partnered with the Twitter CEO’s #StartSmall initiative to pledge more than $15m (£12m) to organisations focused on addressing a number of issues during the Covid-19 outbreak including mental health, food insecurity and income loss.

In a statement shared on Twitter, the CLF said: “As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the need for support in communities hardest hit remains dire. These funds are supporting communities of colour, low-income households, LGBTQ youth, at-risk students out of school and others amidst the reality that racial inequity on top of the pandemic is compounding this public health emergency.”

The Fenty Beauty founder’s organisation highlighted cities including Chicago and Newark as areas that were in particular need of help, writing: “In Newark, which has one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the country, senior citizens, low-income families and homeless individuals are facing impossible decisions everyday: whether to buy groceries or pay utility bills, risk eviction or risk crowded shelters.

“In Chicago, racial disparities are contributing to alarmingly disproportionate rates of infection and death among black and brown people. And throughout the US, mental health and suicide prevention support providers — particularly those serving children, at-risk students and LGBTQ youth — have seen a dramatic rise in demand for their services.

The donation will be distributed among a number of organisations, including the Trevor Project, Newark Emergency Services for Families, Greater Chicago Food Depository and Bright Star Community Outreach, among many others.

It is the latest in a series of charitable donations from the popstar and tech leader.

In April, Rihanna and Dorsey teamed up to donate $4.2m (£3.4m) towards aid for domestic violence victims amid stay-at-home guidelines during the pandemic.

The duo said the funds would “provide 10 weeks of support including shelter, meals and counselling for individuals and their children suffering from domestic violence at a time when shelters are full and incidents are on the rise”.

That same month, Dorsey also announced that he had donated $1bn of his equity in the company Square to his #StartSmall initiative, which focuses on providing relief for those affected by coronavirus and the health and education of young women and girls after the pandemic.

Dorsey explained at the time that he wants to focus on girls’ health and universal basic income because he believes “they represent the best long-term solutions to the existential problems” facing the world.

“The needs are increasingly urgent, and I want to see the impact in my lifetime,” he previously tweeted.

“I hope this inspires others to do something similar. Life is too short, so let’s do everything we can today to help people now.”

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