Airbnb recently announced that they’ve created a nonprofit organization that’s aimed at enabling hosts to offer discounted and in some cases even free accommodation to people who have been affected by emergencies such as natural disasters, refugees, as well as COVID-19 frontline workers who are unable to live with their families right now because of the risks involved.
Airbnb’s new nonprofit is called Airbnb.org and is a result of other programs from the company known as Frontline Stays and Open Homes.
Initially launched in 2012, Open Homes was created on the back of one Airbnb host who decided to provide accommodation to victims of Hurricane Sandy. Then, Airbnb created Frontline Stays in early 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
It became apparent that frontline workers were struggling to find comfortable quarantine accommodation that would enable them to continue doing the important work of treating COVID-19 patients.
Airbnb has been able to provide this type of accommodation via over 100,000 hosts worldwide. However, for the sake of convenience and efficiency, Airbnb has decided to place both programs under the same umbrella known as Airbnb.org.
In return for their generosity and altruism, the Airbnb hosts who choose to partake in the Airbnb.org program by either regularly donating to the program or providing free stays, get a special badge added to their profile.
In an email interview with The Verge, a spokesperson for Airbnb has stated that the company doesn’t compensate hosts for taking part in these programs because that’s considered an “in-kind” donation.
Of course, we all know that the COVID-19 crisis has hit the hospitality and accommodation industry the hardest, and the same goes for Airbnb hosts. They’re having a hard time booking properties and many hosts have had to deal with canceled reservations and refund guests.
Mind you, Airbnb hosts had to pay for these out of pocket as the company didn’t compensate them for these losses, and this even led to a Texas host considering a class-action lawsuit against Airbnb for their unfair refund policy.
It’s worth noting that Airbnb.org is also partnering with well-known relief organizations such as Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE). Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the Red Cross.
Airbnb has also stated its intention to commit $1 million to cover the stays of essential and frontline workers for the next two years, particularly for volunteers of CORE and IFRC who are involved in the work of running COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution centers.
Airbnb.org is also made possible by a generous donation from the company of 400,000 worth of its shares, while other co-founders plan on donating an additional $6 million as well, including Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia.
Keep in mind that Airbnb is going to start trading on the Nasdaq exchange now so you should look out for the ABNB ticker. Airbnb is currently valued at $42 billion and anyone can purchase shares and invest in Airbnb for between $56 to $60 per share.