Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Tesla faces more sexual harassment lawsuits, companies are pushing for birth control to be sold over the counter, and Canva’s Melanie Perkins is among the latest crop of billionaires to sign the Giving Pledge. Have a great Wednesday.
– Give ’til it hurts. One of the macro trends of the pandemic has been, to put it plainly, the rich getting richer. With the stock market still going strong, the tech industry growing more powerful by the second, and the venture capital world awash in cash, it’s been a profitable couple years for many of those who entered 2020 in financial pole position. So, it’s quite refreshing to get a reminder that at least some of those who reap the greatest gains from our capitalist system aren’t bound and determined to take that their wealth to the grave.
The folks behind the Giving Pledge—a promise, first created by then-couple Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates and Warren Buffett, that the signee will give away the majority of their wealth during their lifetime or in their will—have released the latest dozen-plus names to commit. Among them is Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, with her husband and cofounder Cliff Obrecht.
Perkins and Obrecht started Canva, an online design platform, in 2008. This year, the startup landed a round of funding that valued it at $40 billion, giving the co-founders and partners a fortune of $5.9 billion each, according to Bloomberg. By some calculations, that makes Perkins the wealthiest self-made billionaire under 40.
That’s a hell of an accomplishment. But while celebrating success feels earned, simply praising wealth for wealth’s sake rings much hollower. So, Perkins’ decision to sign the pledge—and commit to the imperfect art of trying to use her fortune to make the world just a bit better—would be meaningful, no matter her age or gender. But the fact that a young woman (she’s 34) has not only achieved so much in the business realm, but is also making a statement about what this level of wealth is really for, what it can do, makes her legitimately inspirational.
The Giving Pledge is far from perfect, as this Wall Street Journal story makes clear. But what is? Even before this announcement, Perkins and Obrecht had taken steps to put some of their wealth out into the world, including a pledge to partner with GiveDirectly to fund a $10 million pilot program that will give mobile payments to impoverished people in Southern Africa. The fact that she is putting her literal money where her mouth is on “spending our lifetime working towards” solving some of the world’s biggest problems, as she once wrote, is what counts.
The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Pill, please. Companies are pushing the FDA to authorize over-the-counter birth control. The longstanding debate over whether women should be able to monitor their own health risks that come from the interaction between some oral contraceptives and certain medical conditions could be resolved soon. NYT
- Double whammy. Yesterday, a former SpaceX engineer described her experience with sexual harassment at Elon Musk's commercial spaceflight company (SpaceX didn't comment.) Later that day, six workers at Musk's other business—Tesla—filed lawsuits alleging sexual harassment. Their legal action follows a lawsuit filed by Tesla worker Jessica Barraza earlier this year. Tesla didn't respond to request for comment. Washington Post
- Crypto market. Gwyneth Paltrow recently got into crypto, backing TeraWulf Inc. The cryptocurrency miner just went public, but shares fell 40% after its market debut. Fortune
- In a hurry. Speaking of celeb backers, Selena Gomez is becoming quite the entrepreneur. Her latest investment is an undisclosed stake in Gopuff, the delivery company known for getting your order to your door in record time. Fortune
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Chanel hired a fashion outsider, Unilever consumer goods exec Leena Nair, as its next CEO. Keechant Sewell was chosen as the NYPD's first female police commissioner.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Still fighting. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya became Belarus's opposition leader after her husband, Siarhei Tsikhanouski, was arrested for doing the same. He was sentenced to 18 years in jail this week, and Sviatlana vowed to carry on their joint mission for Belarus. Bloomberg
- College-level deals. More college athletes are signing sponsorship deals now that NCAA rules allow them to earn income. Nike signed its first college player, choosing UCLA sophomore soccer star Reilyn Turner. She has a smaller following compared to college athletes who have so far signed deals, and will work with Nike on some local efforts in L.A. as part of her sponsorship. ESPN
- Patient profile. Who gets abortions in America? According to this interactive, the typical patient is in her late 20s, is already a mother, is in her first six weeks of pregnancy, and is having her first abortion. NYT
ON MY RADAR
Daniel Snyder pledged support for the NFL’s investigation. His actions tell a different story Washington Post
Chloe Kim, a teen sensation, grows up NYT
Tracy Stone-Manning’s plans to rebuild the Bureau of Land Management Outside Online
"Our voices are constantly being pushed away because people don’t take us seriously."
-Model Quannah Chasinghorse on representing Indigenous people in American culture
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