Billionaire cofounder and CEO of Airbnb Brian Chesky has made his biggest philanthropic donation to date: a $ 100 million pledge to former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama to foundation for a initiatives linking education and travel. The funding will go to scholars for college students pursuing public service careers, according to an announcement from the Obama Foundation on Monday. The program, called the Voyager Scholarship, is intended to relieve students of college debt, enable them to travel and broaden their perspectives and provide them with teachers.
The two -year program will provide students with up to $ 25,000 in financial aid for their junior and senior years of college. Recipients will also receive $ 10,000 and free Airbnb housing to go on a “summer voyage” where students will design their own work-travel program to “gain exposure to new communities.”
It doesn’t end there. For a decade after graduation, students will receive $ 2,000 per year on Airbnb to travel where they want and “make new connections in their public service careers.” The first group of Voyager scholars will include 100 students.
“If we want this next generation of leaders to be able to do what they need to do, they need to meet each other. They have to recognize each other. They need to understand each other’s communities, ”the former president said in a video announcing the scholarship.
Chesky, who Forbes estimated to be worth $ 9 billion, will donate $ 100 million for the Voyager Scholarship over five years to the Obama Foundation, which will oversee the program.
The goal of the scholar is to open up the world to young leaders who often lack the money to travel. “There are young people across the country who have a passion for public service, but can’t keep it up because of their student debt. We want to help reduce weight, ”Chesky said in the video announcement.
The CEO of Airbnb added that the scholarship was personal to him. “My parents were social workers, and I couldn’t get through the Rhode Island School of Design without financial help. Since then, I’ve been lucky to have traveled the world and learned from people different from me,” he said. he in a tweet thread.
Chesky is not the only billionaire who donated the foundation to the former president. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pledged $ 100 million in November to expand the foundation’s leadership programs and name the plaza in Obama’s presidential library, the Obama Presidential Center, after the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis. The Obama center, which will include a museum, gardens and a branch public library, is now being built on Chicago’s South Side.
According to the Obama Foundation website, many other billionaires have donated $ 1 million or more, personally or through their own foundations. These include Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, venture capitalist John Doerr, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates and hedge fund magnate Ken Griffin, among others.