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    How Hosts helped Airbnb invest in local communities

    Find out about the Community Fund in the Host Advisory Board's latest update.
    By Airbnb on Jun 4, 2021
    4 min read
    Updated Jun 14, 2021


    • Learn how the Host Advisory Board and Hosts around the world worked on the Community Fund program

    • The Advisory Board’s Bez Soltani also shares why he's so passionate about supporting local communities

    Each month we’re sharing the latest updates from the Host Advisory Board and helping you get to know the board members.

    Hi everyone,

    I’m Bez Soltani, a Superhost from Vancouver, Canada, and a member of the Host Advisory Board. I’m thrilled to announce the recipients of Airbnb’s 2021 Community Fund program. This year the program is providing $10 million USD to local and national organizations that serve communities around the world.

    After the Host Advisory Board reviewed nearly 500 organizations from Airbnb’s program partner, GlobalGiving, we invited community leaders and Host Clubs around the world to vote.

    Hosts selected over 150 finalists from more than 40 countries and six continents! From empowering women to educating children to supporting indigenous cultures, these organizations are providing incredible support to their communities.

    How the selection process worked

    The Host Advisory Board wanted to help address the unprecedented needs created by the pandemic, so we chose to focus on awarding grants to organizations in three areas:

    • COVID-19 relief efforts
    • Economic empowerment
    • Education

    Learning about the organizations
    Airbnb’s program partner, GlobalGiving, helped identify hundreds of organizations from around the world that are doing important work in these focus areas. Each member of the Host Advisory Board reviewed around 100 organizations and scored them based on how they aligned with our three focus areas and the impact they delivered.

    I spent a lot of time going through the organizations to better understand their mission and their immediate impact on their community.

    Involving our community
    After we narrowed down the organizations to those we felt delivered the greatest impact, we shared the finalists with Community Leaders around the world to receive additional input from Hosts. The Community Leaders invited their Host Clubs to vote for organizations, and the results helped inform how grants are distributed to the finalists.

    It was an incredible opportunity knowing that we as Hosts had a say in the process, because the grants from the Community Fund can eventually help thousands of people. I think it's very rare, especially for a public company, to have this kind of impact. And as Hosts, we were able to be involved in a beautiful cause.

    What’s next
    This was the first year of the Community Fund, but it’s a long-term initiative. Airbnb created the Community Fund to distribute $100 million USD over 10 years to support communities, and the Advisory Board is already talking to Airbnb leadership about how to improve the program next year.

    In addition to this process, Airbnb will also direct grant awards to additional organizations that they believe play an important role in communities around the world.

    Why the Community Fund matters so much to me

    The Community Fund is a way for Airbnb and the hosting community to give back. As Hosts, we have an opportunity to positively impact our local communities through these organizations.

    I realized how many great nonprofits are trying to make the world a better place—and they need help amplifying their missions.

    It was a humbling experience getting to know their stories. One that really resonated with me is an organization in Brazil helping children in the Amazon access a quality education. This is such an important cause and will impact these kids for the rest of their lives.

    Why I care about Airbnb’s mission of belonging

    As Hosts, we're the gateways to our respective cities. Hosts help create the magic that goes into each guest’s stay and are ambassadors of Airbnb’s mission of belonging anywhere.

    I really believe in belonging anywhere, especially because my family immigrated to Canada. I think it makes you a more empathetic and welcoming Host when you know what it feels like to not belong somewhere.

    I love connecting with guests. We might not know each other, but we connect on a human level, with no borders or boundaries. Our first-ever guest was so inspired by our place that she made us an art piece. To this day, that picture is on our wall as a reminder of our unique connection.

    I'm a big fan of promoting local businesses. It’s my way of showcasing local gems while adding value to our community.

    I view things from a unique perspective because I have learning disabilities and process information differently. I see the world not as countries and borders, but more as a limitless learning opportunity through genuine connections that reach far beyond language and our differences.

    Random acts of kindness for your guests can go such a long way. It’s a privilege to add joy to someone’s life.

    Stay tuned for more from the Host Advisory Board. We’ll be sharing updates from the board’s monthly meetings, along with tips from board members.

    Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.
    Jun 4, 2021
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