Airbnb Donates $5 Million to San Francisco Homeless Crisis

Airbnb Donates $5 Million to San Francisco Homeless Crisis

Nov 14

San Francisco-based company Airbnb was founded by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. At the time, the two were living together as roommates. In an effort to make ends meet, they decided to let travelers rent an air mattress in their living room. In 2008, another roommate joined in and made a website. That’s when the new business began to take hold. Ten years later, and over four million homes, apartments, boats, mansions, and villas are listed on Airbnb’s website. It has become an international sensation, with listings available in 191 countries. Current estimations put the company’s value at approximately $32 billion. And to think… all that started with a single apartment in San Francisco. Arguably, the hospitality broker (for Airbnb owns none of the properties it advertises) has done a lot to hurt housing rates in major expensive cities like San Francisco. Landlords who can make more rent from weekend tourists than from their years-old tenants have converted properties into makeshift hotels, and legislation has had to rise up to help protect tenants. Today, San Francisco has more than 7,000 people without stable housing, including as many as 1,000 families. But it was founded by two people desperately trying to make rent, and now they want to help. CEO Brian Chesky announced on Tuesday, November 13, that Airbnb will be donating $5 million to help alleviate the homelessness crisis in San Francisco. The company hasn’t yet announced where that money will be invested, but they’ve worked in the past with Hamilton Families, San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, and Larkin Street Youth Services, all of which are heavily involved in homelessness aid. “Airbnb is lucky to call San Francisco our hometown and we share in the responsibility to ensure San Francisco continues to be a city open to everyone, and a city that works together to tackle our most difficult issues,” the company stated in a blog...

Musician Donates Album Proceeds to Mental Health America

Musician Donates Album Proceeds to Mental Health America

Nov 09

Brandon Fox is a singer from Chicago. His style is a mix between R&B and pop, with inspiration taken from Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, and Stevie Wonder. Fox’s current path was shaped by two parents heavily affected by mental health issues. Both parents struggled with addiction and self-medication, to the point where Fox’s father committed suicide. Seeing his own risk rise, Fox turned to music as therapy. “It [mental illness] attacked our family like cancer,” he said in a video made earlier this year, announcing his partnership with Mental Health America. Back in April, Fox launched an album called Remedy, inspired by his personal struggle with mental health, his family, and how the obstacles to seeking treatment shaped his life. He pledged to donate the entirety of Remedy’s profits to Mental Health America. Mental Health America is a nonprofit that dates back to 1909, focused on addressing the mental health care needs of all. Their philosophy is that conditions should be treated early and seriously. The goal? To halt or reverse progressive symptoms and give each person their best chance at an overall healthy life. Fox’s Remedy album spent a week in the top 30 chart on iTunes when it was released. While it is unknown as to exactly how much the album raised for charity, the response on Fox’s fanpage has been warm and positive. On Saturday, November 10, Fox will be upping his contribution via a free benefit show at Bassline in Chicago, with all donations going to Mental Health America. In an interview with WGN Radio, Fox said the show will include several new pieces, which will act as unofficial additions to the Remedy album Tickets to the Saturday night show are free, with a suggested $5 minimum donation. Bassline is located at 2239 S. Michigan Avenue, and the show begins at 6...

Swiss Billionaire Makes $1B Donation to Preserve Natural Resources

Swiss Billionaire Makes $1B Donation to Preserve Natural Resources

Nov 01

Hansjörg Wyss is a Swiss billionaire who made a fortune in the American market by founding medical device manufacturer Synthes. Before his 2012 sale of his company to Johnson & Johnson, he donated approximately $300 million dollars. Since the $21 billion sale, his giving has increased dramatically. Like Bill Gates, Tim Cook, Elon Musk, and David Rockefeller, he has signed The Giving Pledge, an informal commitment to donate at least half of his net worth to philanthropic causes. On Wednesday, October 31, Wyss wrote in an op-ed piece in the New York Times in which he revealed that he is donating $1 billion “to help accelerate land and ocean conservation efforts around the world.” The money will be divested through his Wyss Foundation over the next 10 years, targeted at preserving and expanding public parts, conservation areas, and wildlife and marine reserves. Wyss’s donations have already helped protect approximately 40 million acres of land and sea on or near four continents, to the tune of half a billion dollars. With this massive increase, he wants to protect 30 percent of the world’s surface by 2030. “Every one of us—citizens, philanthropists, business, and government leaders—should be troubled by the enormous gap between how little of our natural world is currently protected and how much should be protected. It is a gap that we must urgently narrow, before our human footprint consumes the earth’s remaining wild places,” he wrote. Climate scientists push for at least 50 percent of the planet to be protected to maintain biodiversity and prevent an extinction event. Currently, only about 15 percent of land and seven percent of ocean area is protected in a natural state—numbers that are being whittled down all the time. “For the sake of all living things,” concludes Wyss, “let’s see to it that far more of our planet is protected by the people, for the people, and for all...

Metallica Raises Money for Charity in WorldWired Tour

Metallica Raises Money for Charity in WorldWired Tour

Oct 27

Metallica, the 37-year-old heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California, is in the middle of their WorldWired tour, a three-year tour supporting their Hardwired… to Self-Destruct album from 2016. The WorldWired tour also saw the creation of the band’s nonprofit foundation, All Within My Hands, named after a song from their 2003 album, St. Anger. “All Within My Hands Foundation is dedicated to creating sustainable communities by supporting workforce education, the fight against hunger, and other critical local services,” the foundation’s website reads. In this globe-spanning tour, the band has been donating some of the funds raised at each concert to local services, such as volunteer fire stations, children’s charities, and food banks. For instance, after their concert at Pennsylvania State College, they coordinated with Feeding America and with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s organization to donate $10,000. That check will provide close to 60,000 meals to the organization, which supports food banks in 27 Pennsylvania counties. “This donation is really important going into the holiday season,” said Jennifer Sands, communications manager for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. “So we’re very excited about it.” The holiday season is often a particularly difficult time for low-income families, with winter weather causing extra expenses and leaner job opportunities. Metallica lists five major charities they’ve supported in 2018 on their website, but a browse through their photo gallery shows many more. Since the early ’80s, they have been a band with global impact. It’s heartening to see that impact spread from the art world to good works. They have a nearly infinite platform, coupled with a far-reaching voice. Watching them build a larger table can only have a net positive effect on the world. All Within My Hands also runs a regular fundraiser, the first Tuesday of every month, over eBay. Unique band memorabilia is auctioned off with proceeds going to help fund the foundation’s donations. The next one will take place on Tuesday, November...

Elon Musk Helps Fix Flint Water Crisis

Elon Musk Helps Fix Flint Water Crisis

Oct 21

Back in July, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he would help fix the water quality issues in Flint, Michigan. “Please consider this a commitment that I will fund fixing the water in any house in Flint that has water contamination above FDA levels. No kidding,” he tweeted, in response to a follower saying it couldn’t be done. A few days later, the office of Flint Mayor Karen Weaver confirmed that he had, in fact, reached out. On October 4, the Flint Community Schools district confirmed that the Musk Foundation would be giving every school in the city new water stations with building-wide filtration to ensure that Flint’s 4,500 students will have access to clean water. “Thank you… for investing in the health/future well-being [of] FCS Students! Your generous donation will help us replace ALL water fountains w/ NEW WATER STATIONS & WATER FILTRATION at ALL SCHOOLS! Looking forward to our burgeoning partnership! More to come!” the school district tweeted. Musk responded, “You’re most welcome. Hope to do more to help in the future.” The Musk Foundation, which is based in California, is heavily focused on advocacy, STEM education, and pediatric research. Founded in 2002 by Elon Musk and his brother, the foundation has donated on average $800,000 per year in grants and disbursements to various causes. The plumbing renovations in Flint are estimated to cost nearly $500,000, which is why it was impossible for the bankrupt city to manage without aid. Earlier this year, nearby Detroit shut off all drinking water to the city’s 106 schools, serving 50,000 students. Flint may be the flagship for water quality control, but the problem is much, much larger. Hopefully, Musk’s example will lead to more community involvement in solving this...

21 Years of Bottle Deposits Adds Up to $15,000 Donation

21 Years of Bottle Deposits Adds Up to $15,000 Donation

Oct 12

Day by day, dollar by dollar, a single woman has donated an estimated $15,000 to the British Columbia Cancer Foundation over the last 21 years. Gia Tran, who is 62, spends every day patrolling the sidewalks of her neighborhood in downtown Vancouver, B.C., collecting empty bottles. She gathers all she can carry, bulging plastic bags hooked on her arm, and then walks to the bottle return depot to trade them in for cash. Just a few cents each, but it adds up. Each weekday (when the depot is open) she earns $10, maybe as much as $20. Then she walks it directly to the home office of the British Columbia Cancer Foundation, to donate her earnings with a bright air. “It’s always the same,” said Dianne Parker, a receptionist at the foundation’s office. “She comes in with a big smile and she always says, ‘I love everybody here, and I want to help people.’” That fits with what Tran says about her own persistence, going out to hunt recyclables all year-round, over her children’s objections in the winter. “I say: ‘No, I go. I want to help people,’” she describes herself as arguing when her children would rather she stay home in the cold. Tran could take the bus, but the bus drivers tend not to let her carry so much, so if she has a large haul, she walks. She says the trip takes as much as an hour and a half, more if she’s found a lot of glass bottles since they’re heavier than plastic or cans. Sarah Roth, the chief executive of the British Columbia Cancer Foundation, loves seeing Tran each day. “She is like the joy of our day when she comes, absolutely,” Roth told CBC. “No matter what kind of day you’re having, when Gia comes in, you forget about it and you just focus on her warmth and her laughter and her true...