Airbnb has launched a new nonprofit — Airbnb.org — to offer assistance during this time of crisis and extend temporary housing to frontline workers, refugees, asylum seekers, evacuees and relief workers.
“Airbnb.org is a testament to our community’s generosity and the power of an idea that started with one host eight years ago and has transformed into a movement of compassion and hospitality,” Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb and chairman of Airbnb.org, said in a statement on Monday (Dec. 7).
Airbnb.org is partnering with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE). The mission is to help support worldwide emergency response efforts and provide stays for essential workers and volunteers fighting the spread of COVID-19.
“Founding and supporting Airbnb.org allows us to double down on our efforts to help communities in need across the world in coordination with our partners, including the IFRC and CORE, to further amplify the generosity of our host community,” Gebbia added.
Airbnb will commit 400,000 shares of its company’s stock to support Airbnb.org, the statement indicated. In addition, co-founders Gebbia, Brian Chesky and Nate Blecharczyk will donate an additional $6 million.
The company said that the idea for a nonprofit arm was first hatched in 2012 with “a single host named Shell” who opened her doors to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. A movement followed that led to the launch of a program that allows hosts to offer places to stay during times of crisis.
Airbnb stepped up with free or subsidized housing for first responders when the pandemic initially took hold in the U.S. in March. In April, Airbnb announced safety protocols for its rentals, including cleaning standards and requirements that rentals stay empty for 24 hours between customers.
Airbnb released its prospectus to go public in November and estimated that the value of its serviceable addressable market was $1.5 trillion. Earlier this month, the company raised its IPO pricing, which could give Airbnb a valuation of $42 billion.