Airbnb and Philanthropy

AirbnbEveryone knows about Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth, and that he has decided to give most of it away to charity. However, many people are not aware of how many founders of companies are following suit. One prominent example today is the founders of the popular lodging website, Airbnb. The three cofounders of this wildly successful company have pledged to give most of their wealth away to charity. They have, indeed, joined the Giving Pledge, and are some of the youngest individuals to do so.

Airbnb was founded in the year 2008 without any notion that it would make as much money as it has. The story of this company began in 2007, when two of its cofounders, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, did not have enough money to pay their San Francisco rent. Instead of resigning themselves to their fate, they set up a website for their home, offering an airbed stay, breakfast included, at eighty dollars a night. They received three guests, and decided that such an experience could lead to a viable business.

So, they called on their engineering friend Nathan Blecharczyk to join them in creating Airbnb. The three started fundraising in the summer of 2008, during the presidential election. They sold candidate-specific cereal boxes and managed to raise thirty thousand dollars. In the spring of 2009, Airbnb was officially launched, after receiving funding. It has now grown to be a company worth $25 billion. The Giving Pledge they signed will ensure that almost $5 billion of their worth will go to charity, at least.

The Giving Pledge was created in the year 2010 by the great philanthropists themselves, Bill and Melinda Gates, along with Warren Buffet. They wanted to give some of the richest people in the world accountability when it came to philanthropy. Of course, the Pledge cannot necessarily force the people who sign it to donate, but it makes sure that those on the list are educated in terms of ways to give and what makes an impact.

The founders of Airbnb signed the Pledge because they want more children around the world to have opportunities to follow their passions. The founders’ hope is that their donations spur children to pursue dreams, by helping eliminate financial obstacles. Airbnb has been involved in philanthropic efforts in the past, but this is its biggest one yet.

Airbnb is a unique company in the philanthropy sphere because it already services the community by fostering sharing of space and getting to know others from around the world. It wants to ‘rid the world of strangers,’ and it is now able to do that and so much more.

Philanthropy by Entrepreneurs

Many entrepreneurs are focused on generating revenue to make a profit. When running your own business, this is the ultimate goal to stay afloat. However, those that do make a profit have a decision about where to spend that money they make. Some entrepreneurs that run profitable organizations have made a practice of donating a large sum of the profit made by their companies. They operate on the platform of making money to support those who need help. Below are some such individuals.

Beth Doane

A self-branded social entrepreneur, this woman supports a number of causes. She is a partner of the all female communications firm, Main & Rose, which builds brands for clients. This company has a pro bono program in which their team works to promote one cause a year. They will do anything from social media management, to event planning, to web design for free. Doane also is the owner of a custom apparel line, which furthers her social entrepreneurship by helping to send children to school, and to plant trees in endangered forests, around the world.

Trina Spear and Heather Hasson

These two women are the founder of the company Figs, which sells high performance scrubs for doctors and nurses. They began the company with the realization that medical wear is outdated and uncomfortable, and those working to save lives all day should be wearing the most comfortable clothing possible. Spear and Hasson set up the Threads for Threads initiative through their company which, for every pair purchased, donates one pair of scrubs to a healthcare provider who cannot afford his or her own. They have given away hundreds of thousands of pairs of scrubs, and hope their donations are cutting down on hospital-acquired infections.

Sarah Kaler

Sarah Kaler is the philanthropic founder of the organization SoulPowered, a company focused on leadership coaching and empowering women to become CEOs. She is very active in philanthropy in Africa. Kaler both invests in African charities, and has created a mentorship program for the Africa Yoga Project, to teach people to be yoga instructors, and how to financially sustain a yoga business.

Dave Heath

This entrepreneurial athlete is the founder and CEO of Bombas, a company that manufactures socks for intense athletic performance. He created the company to assist active people in performing better during their workouts, while also helping people in need. He realized that homeless shelters are requesting socks more than any other item and decided that, for every pair bought, a pair would be sent to someone who needs it. Every employee, on their first day, is required to go hand out socks to, and have conversations with, people living on the streets.

For more inspiring entrepreneurial philanthropists, check out Fox News.