Airbnb Launches Nonprofit For Crisis Stays

Airbnb launched its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to facilitating temporary stays for people in times of crisis with a commitment of $2 million to support partnerships with relief organizations.

The inspiration grew out of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when a host opened her home to people impacted by the storm. The program has since evolved to focus on emergency response and to help provide stays to evacuees, relief workers, refugees and asylum seekers, and most recently, frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Open Homes and Frontline Stays program, now going by the name Airbnb.org, has provided accommodations to 75,000 people in need, involving more than 100,000 hosts who have opened their homes.

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 hit by COVID-19 and other humanitarian disasters.

CORE will use the $1-million contribution to fund stays for frontline workers administering free COVID-19 tests, conducting contract tracing, providing flu shots and coordinating quarantine support resources in 10 cities across the U.S. with the opportunity to launch in new cities as hotspots arise. When a vaccine becomes available, CORE also will use funding to house relief workers traveling to vaccination distribution centers.

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 toward 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

The founding board will include leaders from technology, design, nonprofit, academic and global humanitarian sectors, including:

  • Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb and chairman of Airbnb.org
  • Jennifer Bond, founder, managing director of the University of Ottawa Refugee Hub and Chair of the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initaitive (GSRI)
  • Jocelyn Watt, CEO of Ideo.org
  • Melissa Thomas-Hunt, head of global diversity and belonging at Airbnb
  • Sharyanne McSwain, chief operating officer of Echoing Green.