Why I Donated my WeWork Community Giver Award

Receiving the Community Giver Award at the 2017 WeWork Creator Awards in Tel Aviv. Credit: Assaf Luxembourg
Receiving the Community Giver Award at the 2017 WeWork Creator Awards in Tel Aviv. Credit: Assaf Luxembourg

I was humbled and honored to receive a Community Giver Award, of ILS 63,000, at the 2017 WeWork Creator Awards in Israel, which was held on October 26, 2017, in Tel Aviv.

More than that, I was thrilled to be able to donate the entire prize (which included an on-stage matching donation by WeWork’s Co-Founder and CEO Adam Neumann), to the amazing MyMDband for Holocaust Survivors project, which I have a part in. MyMDband is an Israeli start-up that among other things, is committed to delivering lifesaving medical emergency bracelets for Holocaust survivors, for free, for life.

Altogether, my donation and Adam’s matching donation, their social impact campaign raised ILS 126,000 that evening.

Receiving WeWork Community Giver Award

So, why did I choose to donate my entire award?

Well, first of all — because MyMDband deserved it. Their social impact project deserved it. The survivors deserve it. Given the fact that this project applied for the WeWork Creator Awards (which, full disclosure — I helped with), and did not make it through to the final stage, the idea that I eventually received an award and they did not felt wrong to me. So, this was a pure, unplanned, on-spot philanthropic move.

But, there’s more than that.

Since I really believe that when you know your “why,” you start running marathons instead of sprints, become patient, and focus on long-term sustainable success (rather than instant temporary success), it was clear to me that this move is also pragmatic.

Don’t get me wrong, I could have really used that nice award… But, I just fully believe that the story, video and example of me giving this (unexpected) award right on the spot for a social cause — is going to be worth so much more than that, in the future.

For customers, for boards, for donors, for investors, for my team members, for my staff — and for my long-term reputation. Which is, once again, not your website, or logo, or followers on social media, or even written testimonials from satisfied customers. It’s what people really say about you, behind your back.

Therefore, I believe I am not going to really miss that prize, some 10 years from now. But, the turnout of events is nothing less than an ROI positive investment on my side. So, if I can afford myself to fully donate this award, I first of all feel blessed (not everyone is lucky to be in a position to do so) and cherish that, and second of all — I am happy to do so.

Because it’s not just values, morals, and slogans such as “doing well by doing good” — it’s also pragmatic. Meaning, even if you are a bad person, I believe it actually makes sense for you to do the right thing, in the long-term.

In the future, if I ever get to certain leadership positions, and aspire to empower, support, coach and lead others – I have to do so by showing example. So, whether that’s pragmatic codes of conduct such as the ten unread messages rule, decision-making tools such as the regret-test, an entrepreneurial state-of-mind such as my belief that we are all business units, my belief in the importance of core mental focus in our professional lives such as knowing your “why”, or acts of gratitude and values such as this story — growing that reputation doesn’t start in the future, when you already need it — it starts in the present, by living by what you stand for.

Photo: Assaf Luxembourg

This is yet another opportunity for me to thank WeWork for this incredible award, which is above all – and big show of support that empowers me to keep steady in my journey, keep giving to my community, keep working hard, and keep doing well by doing good.

Learn more about this story here.

The 2018 Creator Awards are going to be held this June in Jerusalem. For more information and to apply, please visit:  http://we.co/creatorawards_jerusalem

About the Author
Assaf is passionate about promoting business in and with Israel, helping and mentoring entrepreneurs, advising young professionals with career planning and self-fulfillment, and more. Assaf acts as a brand ambassador of Israel as 'Start-Up Nation', speaking to thousands of businessmen, investors, entrepreneurs, young professionals, students and others, both in Israel and around the world. Assaf also works as a business development and marketing consultant to Israeli start-ups and others.
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