Generocksity: Philanthropy Through the Arts

Courtesy of Generocksity's Facebook page.

By Breann McKeon

Generocksity is a student run, non profit organization that promotes philanthropy through the arts. Originating in Canada, the organization began in 2013 and currently has over 100 teams among six of Canada’s largest universities. By infusing passions for art and giving, Purchase junior Leah Woods has changed the face of the organization by creating the first Generocksity team in the United States.

Woods, an arts management and studio composition double major, was immediately attracted to Generocksity’s initiatives as it is reflective of some of her past experiences. Over the summer of 2016, Woods and her band Mama and the Stops toured the East Coast and donated their profits to prominent charities of the cities they visited.

After learning about the organization through a friend, Woods reached out to the CEO of Generocksity. “He said the best way to get involved was to create my own branch so I did,” she said. Woods then reached out to fellow Purchase student Collin McClutchy, who is currently the Vice President of the team, in order to recruit team members who were just as passionate about contributing to the cause.

With a team of over ten members, Woods was ready to host the first Generocksity NYC event. She was then faced with the challenge of finding a cause to donate to that would attract students at Purchase. The team decided the proceeds from their first event would go to a women’s shelter, My Sister’s Place, located in White Plains. “We had to find a cause that students would respond well to. We know that everyone on campus supports women’s rights so we decided to go with that,” Woods said.

The first, and very successful event, “Re/Generation” was held at a restaurant located right outside campus, Trattoria 632, on Feb 8. The team provided free transportation, discounted drinks, live music from fellow Purchase students and of course, free pizza. “By including our ride service Generidesity, we wanted to give students a way they couldn’t say no to showing up.” This event sold out, and the team donated over $1,000 to My Sister’s Place.

Moving forward with the motive to donate to necessary causes, the second Generocksity event was held on March 25 on campus and titled “Galarocksity.” Through a silent auction of art donated by Purchase students, the team donated the proceeds to the Hudson Valley Community Coalition, an organization that works to build communities that foster social justice and cultural awareness. “This group advocates for immigrants which is something that is so necessary right now,” Woods said. “We want to help this group maintain a safe space for immigrants.” All of the student art that was donated to this event was auctioned or sold.

As Woods’ senior year is approaching, her goals are to expand the presence of Generocksity in New York by encouraging local college campuses to get involved with the organization. She also plans to expand the team at Purchase by recruiting students at this year’s Culture Shock.

While these events were successful, Woods reflected on these first events as learning experiences. “Next year will run much smoother. From this experience we’ll learn how to have more events and plan them quicker.”

Through the beginning of this experience as President, Woods is mostly proud of being able to positively impact the community. “This is my favorite thing to do,” Woods said. “To be able to do what you love and make an impact on the community is one of the greatest feelings you can have.”