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Airbnb Billionaires Join Global Giving Pledge

2 June 2016 at 9:17 am
Lina Caneva
Seventeen more families and individuals have joined the global Giving Pledge and committed the majority of their wealth to philanthropy, including the three co-founders of short-stay accommodation phenomenon Airbnb. The global group now includes 154

Lina Caneva | 2 June 2016 at 9:17 am


Airbnb Billionaires Join Global Giving Pledge
2 June 2016 at 9:17 am

Seventeen more families and individuals have joined the global Giving Pledge and committed the majority of their wealth to philanthropy, including the three co-founders of short-stay accommodation phenomenon Airbnb.

The global group now includes 154 philanthropic individuals and families from 16 countries.

The Giving Pledge is a multi-generational initiative created by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010 that encourages billionaires to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

New to the list are US-based Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky, the co-founders of Airbnb, the short-stay accommodation marketplace that now operates in more than 34,000 cities and 191 countries.

Joe Gebbia started Airbnb in 2008.

“When I started Airbnb in my living room eight years ago, I never would’ve imagined that the company would succeed to such an extent that it would eventually give me the ability to write this letter,” Gebbia said in his Giving Pledge letter.

“Luck and timing aside, the company owes its success to the hard work and dedication of many incredible people over the years. I want to devote my resources to bring the moment of instantiation, when someone who has an idea sees it become real, to as many people as I can.

“It can unlock the understanding that they can make things happen, that they can shape the world around them. I want to enable as many people as possible, especially in underprivileged communities, to experience this magic firsthand.

“My philanthropic contributions will aim to build pathways for future creatives and entrepreneurs, no matter what their age, gender, or location, to achieve their dreams.”

Nathan Blecharczyk oversaw the creation of Airbnb’s engineering, data science, and performance marketing teams and currently played a leading role in the company’s business and product strategy.

“We are humbled to find ourselves at a young age in an extremely privileged place,”  Blecharczyk said in his Giving Pledge letter.

“We recognise that the world has many real challenges and that we are in a unique position to have significant positive impact. We feel a responsibility to share our good fortune, and we pledge to dedicate the majority of our wealth over time to philanthropy.”

Brian Chesky is also the CEO at Airbnb and drives company’s vision, strategy and growth which he said had put the company at the forefront of the travel industry. Chesky met co-founder Gebbia at the Rhode Island School of Design where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design.

“With this pledge, I want to help more kids realise the kind of journey I have had,” Chesky said.

“I want to show them that their dreams are not bounded by what they can see in front of them. Their limits are not so limited. Walt Disney once said, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ I would like to help them dream.”

The 154 pledgers range in age from 30 to 100. Globally, signatories represent 16 countries: Australia, Brazil, China (mainland and Taiwan), Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE, United Kingdom and the United States.

The new signatories to the Giving Pledge include entrepreneurs and business leaders from diverse backgrounds and sectors, including technology, medicine and biotech, real estate and dairy farming.

“This new group joining the Giving Pledge is incredibly thoughtful about their desire to give back and help solve the world’s toughest challenges through philanthropy,” Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said.

“Some have been giving for decades and others are just starting out after building successful businesses, but they all see the value of giving in a bold and effective way. Melinda, Warren and I are glad to have the opportunity to learn with them and from them.

“They will use their philanthropic resources to support a range of causes, including poverty alleviation, healthcare, education, and environmental protection.”

The new signatories were named at the group’s annual two-day conference in the US which provided them with the opportunity to hear from outside experts about how to give effectively across a range of issues.

The topics discussed included leveraging philanthropy to drive women’s opportunities in the global economy, opportunities and challenges for giving internationally, solving environmental issues, engaging in urban renewal projects, and philanthropy’s role in advancing scientific discovery.

Some of the original big name signatories to the pledge in 2010 included New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, film director George Lucas, Ebay founders Pierre and Pam Omidyar along with founding Ebay president Jeff Skoll and US television executive, Ted Turner.

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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