Airbnb’s Joe Gebbia donates $25 million to The Ocean Cleanup

Feb 1, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: Feb 2, 2023, 6:32 am
This photo provided by The Ocean Cleanup shows The Ocean Cleanup's founder and CEO Boyan Slat among...

This photo provided by The Ocean Cleanup shows The Ocean Cleanup's founder and CEO Boyan Slat among the trash on the Rio Motagua in Guatemala in 2022. (The Ocean Cleanup via AP)

(The Ocean Cleanup via AP)

              This photo provided by Joe Gebbia shows Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb and Samara and chairman of, photographed in Austin, Texas, in 2021. (Joe Gebbia via AP)
              This photo provided by The Ocean Cleanup shows the Interceptor 007 collects trash in Ballona Creek, Calif., before it reaches the Pacific Ocean in 2022. (The Ocean Cleanup via AP)
              This photo provided by The Ocean Cleanup shows The Ocean Cleanup's founder and CEO Boyan Slat among the trash on the Rio Motagua in Guatemala in 2022. (The Ocean Cleanup via AP)

Entrepreneur Joe Gebbia donated $25 million to The Ocean Cleanup Thursday to support the nonprofit’s efforts to remove plastic from the world’s oceans and rivers.

Experts in the field welcome both the donation and the attention to the issue of ocean sustainability, pointing out that it receives the least funding of all the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. According to the World Economic Forum, about $175 billion a year is needed to protect the oceans, but between 2015 and 2019 less than $10 billion total was invested in the cause.

Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb and Samara and chairman of, said he was proud to partner with the nonprofit, which declared his donation the largest in its history.

“The Ocean Cleanup has created systems and technology that actually work at scale,” Gebbia said in a statement to The Associated Press. “In order for them to deploy across our oceans and rivers, they now need to scale their funding. It is my hope that this donation can inspire others to act.”

The Ocean Cleanup works to remove the existing plastic floating in the ocean, especially in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as well as reducing the amount of plastic flowing into the oceans. The nonprofit has removed roughly 440,000 pounds of plastic from the Garbage Patch, which consists of an estimated 220 million pounds of plastic located between Hawaii and California.

“Joe’s continued support of The Ocean Cleanup’s mission has a direct impact on our operations all over the world,” Boyan Slat, The Ocean Cleanup’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Thanks, in part, to his generous assistance, we are able to scale up our work in oceans and rivers, helping us reach our goal of ridding the world’s oceans of plastic.”

Daniela Fernandez, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Sustainable Ocean Alliance, which helps young leaders connect to work on solving issues threatening oceans’ health, said many donors do not realize that supporting programs battling climate change does not necessarily support the welfare of the oceans. She said Gebbia’s donation is a sign of change.

“I do think that we are seeing philanthropists pay more attention,” said Fernandez, whose group is co-sponsoring Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit in Panama later this month to discuss cleanup and other possible solutions to the oceans’ issues. “I think it’s really exciting to see this large support take place.”

Fernandez said it is important to encourage and empower young people because they may have important new ideas.

“They’re frustrated,” she said. “But now you’re seeing this area of entrepreneurship where people are saying, ‘Not only do I want to be angry and write a letter or sign a petition, I actually want to roll up my sleeves and build a mangrove forest in my backyard or put together a coral reef planting campaign for my community.’ We’re seeing so many ideas.”


Associated Press coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content. For all of AP’s philanthropy coverage, visit

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Much of drought-plagued West Coast faces salmon fishing ban

The surreal and desperate scramble boosted the survival rate of the hatchery-raised fish, but still it was not enough to reverse the declining stocks in the face of added challenges.
3 days ago
UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) shoots while defended by Gonzaga's Rasir Bolton (45) in the first half...
Associated Press

Gonzaga beats UCLA 79-76 in Sweet 16 on Strawther’s shot

Julian Strawther hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to answer a 3-pointer by UCLA's Amari Bailey, lifting Gonzaga to a wild 79-76 NCAA Tournament win over UCLA Thursday night in the Sweet 16.
3 days ago
Associated Press

Officials: Safety device, human error derailed Wash. train

A safety device failed, knocking a train off the tracks last week, spilling diesel after leaving an oil refinery in Anacortes.
3 days ago
File - Credit cards as seen July 1, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. A low credit score can hurt your ability...
Associated Press

What the Fed rate increase means for your credit card bill

The Federal Reserve raised its key rate by another quarter point Wednesday, bringing it to the highest level in 15 years as part of an ongoing effort to ease inflation by making borrowing more expensive.
4 days ago
police lights distracted drivers shooting...
Associated Press

Authorities: Missing mom, daughter in Washington found dead

A missing Washington state woman and her daughter were found dead Wednesday, according to police.
4 days ago
Associated Press

Google’s artificially intelligent ‘Bard’ set for next stage

Google announced Tuesday it's allowing more people to interact with “ Bard,” the artificially intelligent chatbot the company is building to counter Microsoft's early lead in a pivotal battleground of technology.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Airbnb’s Joe Gebbia donates $25 million to The Ocean Cleanup