As communities around the world grapple with the devastating impacts of natural disasters and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Airbnb are announcing the launch of Airbnb.org, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating temporary stays for people in times of crisis.
The inspiration for Airbnb.org began in 2012 with a single host named Shell who opened up her home to people impacted by Hurricane Sandy. This sparked a movement and marked the beginning of a program that allows hosts on Airbnb to provide stays for people in times of need.
Since then, the program has evolved to focus on emergency response and to help provide stays to evacuees, relief workers, refugees, asylum seekers, and most recently, frontline workers fighting the spread of COVID-19. From Australia to France, more than 100,000 hosts have offered to open up their homes and helped provide accommodations to 75,000 people in times of need. Going forward, Airbnb’s Open Homes and Frontline stays programs will now be called Airbnb.org.
“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,” said Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb and Chairman of Airbnb.org. “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.”
Airbnb.org’s initial commitments include $2 million to support expanded partnerships with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE). Over the next two years, Airbnb.org will commit $1 million to cover stays for IFRC staff and volunteers supporting communities worldwide hit by COVID-19 and other humanitarian disasters. CORE will utilize Airbnb.org’s $1 million contribution to fund stays for frontline workers administering free COVID-19 tests, conducting contact tracing, providing flu shots and coordinating quarantine support resources in ten cities across the U.S. with the opportunity to launch in new cities as hotspots arise. When a vaccine becomes available, CORE will also use Airbnb.org funding to house relief workers traveling to vaccine distribution centers.
“Supporting communities through times of crisis requires collaborative efforts. We value our partnership with Airbnb.org which will support our ongoing work responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and countless other emergencies around the world. Temporary housing provided to IFRC volunteers and staff through this partnership will offer comfort and hospitality as they work tirelessly to support people affected by disasters.”
Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
“We are incredibly grateful to Airbnb.org for providing places for our team to stay while they are away from home and serving communities that are being affected by COVID-19,” said CORE Co-founder and CEO Ann Lee. “It’s heartening to know that our hardworking team has a safe and comfortable place to rest and recuperate after the hard work they do every single day on the frontlines of fighting this pandemic.”
How it works
Airbnb.org will allow hosts on Airbnb to provide free and discounted stays to people impacted by emergencies, including natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. These stays, which provide alternative accommodation and shelter options, are especially helpful to government and nonprofit partners in a year where the COVID-19 pandemic has made housing vulnerable people in traditional congregate shelters extremely challenging.
Hosts who support Airbnb.org by offering free stays or making recurring donations will receive a special badge on their profile to recognize their generosity and commitment to communities in need.
To ensure community donations go further towards helping house people in times of crisis, Airbnb has pledged 400,000 shares of Airbnb stock to support the organization’s emergency response, natural disaster response and refugee programs. Airbnb co-founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nate Blecharczyk are committing $6 million to support partners and impacted communities. In addition, Airbnb will continue to provide ongoing operational support for Airbnb.org.
As a nonprofit, Airbnb.org will scale its impact and fund stays through private donations from individuals and institutions. All funds raised through Airbnb.org will go towards covering the cost of stays for those in need.
A global network of partners
Airbnb.org cannot do this work alone, which is why it will work with governments and trusted partners to inform its approach. In addition to expanded partnerships with IFRC and CORE, Airbnb.org will also partner with local and global nonprofits, including the International Rescue Committee, CARE, Mercy Corps, HIAS and others to connect those they serve with temporary stays. Investing in international nonprofit and government partnerships will allow Airbnb.org to co-develop programs and better serve the communities it strives to support, including historically marginalized communities.
A commitment to equity and inclusion
Airbnb.org will focus on facilitating stays to support those communities that are disproportionately impacted by natural disasters and COVID-19. To best serve these communities, Airbnb.org is building a diverse team at all levels, starting with its founding board of directors. At launch Airbnb.org’s founding board is composed of 80% women and 40% underrepresented minorities.