Airbnb co-founder gives his Georgia high school over $ 700,000
During Gebbia’s sophomore year, his art teachers – Barbara Willis and Jennifer Sams – recommended that he apply to the Governor’s Honors Program, a month-long summer school where he drew and painted alongside others. best student artists in the state. The summer program teacher encouraged Gebbia to apply to Rhode Island School of Design, one of the top art colleges in the country, and Gebbia was accepted.
“Design school is a fantastic training for becoming an entrepreneur,” he said. “You have to imagine something in your mind that doesn’t exist in the world, and then you have to create it, which every entrepreneur does. “
He also credits cross-country running, under coaches Jerry Arnold and Joe Carter, for working through the stress of starting a business and overcoming times when he wanted to quit.
William Bo Ford Jr., who has been the principal of Brookwood since 2013, said in a press release: “It warms my heart that he chooses to give back to the school and the community in which he has thrived. Brookwood is a special place. We are family and Mr. Gebbia is and always will be a part of the Brookwood family.
Gebbia’s artistic endeavors began long before high school. At Gwin Oaks Elementary School and Five Forks Middle School in Gwinnett, art teachers also encouraged and watched over him.
As a sophomore at Gwin Oaks, he sold drawings of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to his classmates, who asked their parents for extra lunch money to buy them. The teacher told Gebbia to stop after parents called to ask why lunch had become so expensive.
“I had it in the bank at the time,” said Gebbia, who is now worth $ 12 billion.
Home internet was just starting to take off while Gebbia was in Brookwood, and he got hooked. He learned to code on his own and devoured the tech blogs of the day.
“As a guy from Snellville, I had no idea where Silicon Valley was on a map,” he said. “It was a faraway place where the future lived.”
On the last day of her senior year, Gebbia figured out how to use a phone in Brookwood’s reception area to hack the intercom system, playing Pink Floyd’s “School’s Out” and “Another Brick in the Wall” in every room. MTV recreated the farce three years later for its “High School Stories” show.
Gebbia lives in the San Francisco Bay Area but still has family and friends in the Metro Atlanta area. Her father, Joe Gebbia Sr., is a Brookhaven city councilor who did not run for office last month.
Gebbia Jr. participates in Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge. He has made a personal donation of $ 25 million to two San Francisco charities working to end homelessness and help those facing economic hardship from the coronavirus pandemic. Gebbia is also the president of Airbnb.org, a non-profit organization that has hosted COVID-19 frontline workers, Afghan refugees, and people displaced by natural disasters.
“I had always dreamed of that moment, where I would be in a place where I could give back to help the art students who go to Brookwood have the same opportunities,” Gebbia said. “Or more.”