At WeWork we believe that actions speak louder than words, and that when we work together, we can create a positive impact in our communities and on the world. Today, we are proud to share our global Season of Service initiative, a new program that gives our thousands of employees a day off to support their local communities and give back in a way that feels personally meaningful. Since the beginning of December, WeWork employees around the world have volunteered at company-organized events or dedicated time to a charity of their choice.
“I believe there’s a time to receive and a time to give back,” says China’s impact lead Joshua Li, whose team hosted a holiday market with Make a Wish to support children with life-threatening illnesses. “Season of Service reinforces that he’s “not alone in this mission of making the world a better place.”
While teams are engaging around the world in a variety of ways with local partners to service local needs, we are united in our commitment to giving back. Ella Bowman, WeWork’s consumer communications lead in London, observes that doing good is “so crucial to the world we live in,” and equally as important is “intending that goodness and bringing consciousness to what you’re doing.”
Addressing the need for shelter was a catalyst for many Season of Service projects. In California, where wildfires devastated swaths of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, thousands lost their homes, including members of the WeWork community. “Everybody knows someone who was evacuated,” says Alayna Parker, a community manager for WeWork. “The fires touched everyone.”
Through the end of January, employees and members at 21 WeWork locations in Southern California are donating money to Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild homes destroyed by the fires. The goal is for each building to raise at least $500, resulting in more than $10,000.
“Natural disasters can hit anybody at any moment,” says Parker. “It’s something I always keep in the front of my mind—that it could be me or my family in this situation.”
Eli de Souza, a marketing lead at WeWork Ipanema, along with a group of his colleagues, spent nine hours building a prefabricated home for a family in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in partnership with TECHO, a charity that builds homes for families living in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
“If they don’t have a roof over their head, they will die,” says de Souza. “They had nothing—no food, no water—but now they have a roof, a place to stay. It completely changed their lives.”
Supporting organizations that help children in need is another common goal for WeWork employees around the world. In Chicago, for example, team members have partnered with Tutoring Chicago to provide one-on-one mentoring to children from economically disadvantaged families. WeWork Boston employees are volunteering with Boston Children’s Hospital. And the WeWork team in Atlanta has joined forces with Camp Twin Lakes to support summer programs for children with disabilities, serious illnesses, and other challenges.
In New York’s Harlem neighborhood, WeWork is hosting two holiday parties with Children’s Aid, a nonprofit providing a variety of resources to children from financially challenged families. Each child in attendance will receive a gift. “Very often it’s the only gift that they will receive,” says Nicole Sizemore, senior manager of public affairs at WeWork.
Employees at Lima’s WeWork Real 2 launched Goles que Impactan, a Latin American initiative that restores one community soccer field for every victory a country racked up during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Nicole Huby and Alvaro Castro, who lead the local impact team, worked with colleagues during Season of Service to revitalize a field in El Callao. Schoolchildren from the neighborhood joined their work to replace sod, repaint walls, and draw new boundary markers.
“It feels amazing,” says Castro of the project. “I’m doing something not just for me, but for someone else.”
Helping local children is also the focus for employees from all 10 WeWork locations in Mexico City. On Dec. 17, a group of volunteers delivered toys to the Vuela Fundación, a hospital specializing in treating children with cancer. And on Jan. 18, they will drop off supplies at a school called Instituto Nevadi.
“I never thought I’d be as involved as I am now,” says WeWork employee Sofia Pardo, who is leading the effort with colleague Mariana Santana. “It makes me want to cry every time I see how small things you can do can bring so much change.”
All WeWork locations in India are participating in toy drives this month. It’s a continuation of the team’s work throughout the year, which has included cleaning up a beach in Mumbai, picking up trash at a riverbank in Delhi, and repainting walls along a busy street in Bengaluru. The community outreach is “super-aligned with what we do at WeWork,” says culture operations lead Divya Katty.
Yoav Shlezinger, social media lead for WeWork Tel Aviv, says this commitment to purpose-driven work inspires him. “I’m grateful to be a part of the WeWork family,” he says, “because we are encouraged to give back to our communities every single day of the year.”
For more information about how you can give back to your community, please visit our partners like Make a Wish, Habitat for Humanity, Tutoring Chicago, Boston Children’s Hospital, Camp Twin Lakes, Children’s Aid, Vuela Fundación, and TECHO.
With reporting by Jonathan Zalman.