The office environment as we know it has changed indefinitely due to COVID-19. As cities across the U.S. begin to enter phase two—reopening after the lockdown—businesses are slowly starting to revive, but people are still taking the proper precautions. In large cities, the transition to normal office life is a lot slower and many companies have planned to hold off on opening their offices until 2021. For non-essential workers, employees are undergoing a shift from lockdown to post-pandemic habitats. The concerns still remain, people are still keeping distance and wearing masks—a new normal that none of us were prepared for.
As a mission-driven organization, WeWork sought to use its platform to support the entrepreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofits—from all backgrounds—who are working to support their communities impacted by the pandemic. Earlier this year, WeWork launched WeWork for Good, an initiative to support members and local communities during COVID-19. The WeWork for Good initiative contributed office spaces to eligible organizations playing an active role in supporting the public health response. This included existing government and nonprofit WeWork members, as well as non-members in need.
Under the same initiative, WeWork also launched its grant program for Black-owned businesses. As we continue to see systemic inequities, WeWork has made the decision to build internal foundational programming for underrepresented businesses. Eligible WeWork members have the opportunity to receive a $10,000 grant as well as access to resources and support from WeWork Labs to help grow their businesses.
An unprecedented number of businesses have closed since the eruption of this pandemic and there are an estimated 100,000 small businesses that closed indefinitely in the United States that have been reported. Research is continuously being discovered and there is no way of knowing how many businesses were actually affected after the influx of cases in large cities across the nation. Although it’s not a solution to the unfortunate circumstances, WeWork for Good gives qualified businesses hope for their futures.
Eat REAL focuses on ways to improve transparency within our food system and bring healthier food to schools. As participants in the WeWork for Good initiative, Eat REAL was able to safely increase real food access and awareness during this national health crisis in communities that needed the extra support. Their program prioritizes supporting diverse communities and making root-cause systems change. They were able to support Black, Brown, Indigenous, and People of Color to have safe access to real food during the pandemic and beyond.
United Hatzalah of Israel is the largest independent non-profit, fully volunteer-based, emergency medical service that provides the fastest, free emergency medical first response. As an organization that serves the public, they were unable to stay complacent in the face of a rising humanitarian crisis of national proportions. The WeWork for Good community provided them with a home base in the United States where they spearheaded efforts to provide funding for their operational needs in Israel. As a medical first response organization, their volunteers have been on the front lines of the fight against Covid-19. WeWork provided the United Hatzalah of Israel with the workspace and resources that they needed in order to better support their volunteers.
Since 2010, WeWork has been committed to providing physical spaces, services and internal communities for its members. It has grown to 828 locations across 149 cities and 38 countries and continues to provide support for organizations who need space, and human connection. In the wake of COVID-19, that desire for human connection has grown even stronger among professionals, and it’s more important than ever for the WeWork team to be a part of the solution in building those connections and communities now, digitally and physically.
The discomfort of knowing that our workplace environment will never be the same is quite unnerving, but gestures like this initiative help us feel a little less overwhelmed by the impact of coronavirus and systemic challenges. Learn more about how you can get involved with WeWork for Good.