The war in Ukraine has displaced nearly 5.1 million people inside the country and over 6.2 million into other countries. These include neighboring countries like Hungary, Moldova, and Poland and other countries like the United States. Poland has taken in almost 60% of all Ukrainian refugees (more than any other country).
In 2022, the independent, non-profit organization Airbnb.org offered free, short-term housing to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. Airbnb.org received financial support for this goal from the humanitarian initiative Tech for Refugees. Julia and Yuri Milner founded Tech For Refugees in response to the escalating emergency in Ukraine.
Airbnb.org’s Ukrainian Refugee Shelter Success
Airbnb.org announced its aim to provide shelter for 100,000 Ukrainians in March 2022. The organization encouraged people to sign up to provide emergency housing or make a donation to the cause.
Thanks to financial support from Tech for Refugees and other contributors, Airbnb.org met its goal in August 2022. More than 33,000 new Airbnb hosts opted into the program, providing shelter to people forced from their homes by the war. These Hosts hail from over 90 countries and regions, including Canada, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, and Romania.
Rafał was one of the Polish hosts who took part in the Airbnb.org campaign. In addition to organizing a musical benefit for Ukrainian refugees, Rafał discovered he could provide discounted and free stays to those in need through Airbnb.org.
Rafał still lists his house on Airbnb.org to host guests displaced by crises. He has also helped translate Airbnb.org webinars into Polish.
After reaching the original target of housing 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, Airbnb.org and Tech For Refugees agreed to continue supporting refugees around the world.
Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky expressed gratitude for Julia and Yuri Milner’s generosity and their non-profit initiative. He said: “Their support will help Airbnb.org continue to provide housing to as many refugees as we can.”
Tech For Refugees’ Mission
Airbnb.org became one of Tech For Refugees’ first partners in spring 2022, along with Spotify and Flexport.org. The Milners launched the initiative with a seed donation of $100 million. They took inspiration from the Stand With Ukraine GoFundMe campaign that Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher created in March 2022.
When they founded Tech For Refugees, the Milners said they felt “devastated by the heartbreaking suffering of the Ukrainian people.”
They added, “We believe that this initiative, in partnership with some of the world’s most creative technology companies and organizations, can provide practical assistance for people living in turmoil outside their homeland.”
Tech for Refugees supports existing humanitarian projects and funds new programs that offer assistance to refugees. The initiative welcomes new partners in the technology sector with innovative ideas for programs to address the global refugee crisis.
About Julia and Yuri Milner
Julia and Yuri Milner are Giving Pledge signatories who have committed to donate the majority of their wealth to philanthropic, primarily scientific, causes.
The couple founded the Breakthrough Prize with Priscilla Chan, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, and Anne Wojcicki. The Breakthrough Prize rewards the world’s top scientists working in the fields of Fundamental Physics, Mathematics, and the Life Sciences. The founders’ personal foundations (along with those of Ma Huateng and Jack Ma) sponsor the Breakthrough Prizes.
The Milners’ Breakthrough Foundation also funds the Breakthrough Initiatives. Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking launched the first of these space science programs, Breakthrough Listen, in 2015.
Breakthrough Listen is a $100 million research project seeking evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. The other Breakthrough Initiatives — Watch, Starshot, Discuss, and Message — also focus on questions of life in the Universe and space exploration.
Yuri Milner’s first book, Eureka Manifesto: The Mission for Our Civilization, came out in 2021. Eureka Manifesto places humanity in the context of the cosmos’ evolution. The short book also outlines the mission that this “Universal Story” implies for us all.