Airbnb founder Brian Chesky (above) has written to the company’s four million hosts and landlords to reveal that he is to set up a global $1 billion (£760 million) ‘endowment’ fund to support both those who let out property via the platform and the communities they operate within.

Called the Airbnb Host Endowment Fund, his announcement is a reaction to criticism that short lets platforms like Airbnb ‘take’ from communities and housing markets, but rarely ‘give back’.

Chesky says the fund will be used to support hosts and landlords both with local projects to support communities and financial resources for hotst/landlords that will last for ‘generations to come’.

The Host Endowment will be established via 9.2 million shares from Airbnb which, at an estimated IPO prices of $34 (£25) would make the fund worth $312 million (£236 million), so hosts around the world would have some time to wait for the fund to reach a value of $1 billion.

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Airbnb says ‘funding decisions’ will be made following input from hosts, who will also be consulted directly on how to make Airbnb better.

The four key areas where the fund will spend money include:

  • Emergency funds for hosts in times of crisis.
  • Investment in new products to support host success.
  • An annual payout to a select group of hosts who most advance the Airbnb mission.
  • Grant programs to support education costs for hosts and their families.

“It’s been a difficult year, but I’ve been inspired by how resilient you are, and how quickly you’ve adapted to the changing needs of guests,” Chesky says in an email sent out to all hosts.

“More importantly, I’ve been moved by your compassion. You are some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. You have faith in others and trust them enough to stay in the most personal of spaces – your own home.

Read more about the fund.

Picture credit: Airbnb Inc

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