Tomorrow, Nov. 29, marks #GivingTuesday in New York City, and one organization very involved with that concept is Givkwik. A purpose-driven software company, Givkwik was founded by NYU alumnus Jason Rosado. Givkwik connects companies, causes and communities, which in turn simplifies philanthrophy and amplifies impact. Partnering organizations with Givkwik have included Companions For Heroes, Girls Educational & Mentoring Services, the ONEHOPE Foundation, and The Rumie Initiative.
Local to Downtown New Yorkers, Givkwik flies the GivingTuesday flag with its annual GIV.NYC event, which takes place at Impact Hub New York. An entertaining event for a great cause, GIV.NYC will see one of 10 local non-profits being awarded with a $10,000 grant. Finalists include BUILD NYC, Prep For Prep, Tech Kids Unlimited and the Leave It Better Foundation. Event partners and presenters include Audrey Puente of Fox TV, author Jenny Santi, comedian Kyle Grooms, musicians Cuarteto Guataca, and news outlet Headlines For The Hopeful.
Said Helaina Hovitz, Editorial Director and Co-Founder of Headlines For The Hopeful — and occasional Downtown contributor — of Givkwik and the overall event: “Most nonprofits are very tight on funds, which is why we were excited to create and donate digital content that demonstrates the impact they have. They give so much to so many people everyday, and we really wanted to be able to give something special to them.” The Headlines team will be on-site interviewing representatives from the 10 finalists.
Downtown caught up with Jason Rosado, Kyle Grooms and Grupo Guataca’s Josh Levine for some Q&A about what is to be expected from #GivingTuesday and tomorrow’s event overall. More info can be found online at www.givkwik.com/nyc16.
|How did you first get involved with Givkwik?
Jason Rosado, Givkwik Founder/CEO: I started the company in 2010 as part of my Master’s thesis at NYU. I jumped in full-time in 2012 and brought on 2 co-founders.
Kyle Grooms, Comedian: I’ve done some work in the past with a great nonprofit in New York that produces free outdoor comedy shows, called NY Laughs. They’re a nonprofit featured on Givkwik, which is a website that helps people and companies donate to nonprofits. Anyway, Givkwik was looking for a host for their event to add some humor and they reached out to NY Laughs who then recommended me. Once I heard the idea for the event, I was definitely down.
Josh Levine, Cuarteto Guataca: Jason Rosado contacted me because he had seen some videos of the band and thought we would be right for this event.
How would you describe the GIV.NYC.2016 event to someone unfamiliar?
Jason Rosado, GivKwik Founder/CEO: “Shark Tank for charity” or “The Jerry Lewis Telethon meets Facebook.” An open, social giving event in celebration of #GivingTuesday dedicated to New York City.
Kyle Grooms, Comedian: Think Jerry Lewis Telethon meets American Idol. Getting people together to give money to good causes and doing it in a very entertaining, yet public kind of way.
Where does the grant money come from?
Jason Rosado, Givkwik Founder/CEO: $10,000 comes from Vodafone Americas Foundation. The rest comes from Givkwik.
Is there an overall goal for the GIV.NYC.2016 event from your perspective?
Jason Rosado, Givkwik Founder/CEO: To raise awareness of the great nonprofits doing amazing work in NYC, and to raise the profile of Givkwik as a software and services provider for companies looking to partner with nonprofits.
Kyle Grooms, Comedian: My goal, as usual, is to get people to have a good time, look at the lighter side of things. Some of the problems the nonprofits are trying to solve can be pretty heavy themes. So I’ll be trying to keep it a little light and fun, but also encouraging people to get involved.
Do you have a favorite part of the event?
Jason Rosado, Givkwik Founder/CEO: Watching the two-minute pitches from each of the 10 finalist’s causes.
Kyle Grooms, Comedian: This is my first year doing this, but suffice it to say, the times when I’ll be on-stage making people laugh and getting them to pull out their credit cards will be the best part of the show.
How will you be involved at the event?
Jason Rosado, Givkwik Founder/CEO: I’ll be helping to connect people in the room to other professionals like them and filling in to support the event production wherever necessary.
GIV.NYC.2016 aside, what else do you have coming up?
Jason Rosado, Givkwik Founder/CEO: Our next big campaign is the All Stars Of Giving, which is at the intersection of pro sports and philanthropy. We do it in partnership with All Sports United and it typically kicks off in April.
Kyle Grooms, Comedian: Givkwik does other cool online giving campaigns like this throughout the year. They’ve got one coming up in April that’s all about professional athletes and their charitable work. As for me, I’ll be performing at Fire and Ice on Dec. 14 in Miami.
Josh Levine, Cuarteto Guataca: Cuarteto Guataca plays regularly at Cubana Social in Williamsburg, and we work with organizations such as Concerts in Motion, Hudson Guild and Friends of the East River Esplanade.
When not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?
Jason Rosado, Givkwik Founder/CEO: We have a seven-month old baby girl, Aída, and a one-year old puppy named Stella. That pretty much takes up all our available free time.
Kyle Grooms, Comedian: I like to spend time with my daughters in a park or on the beach.
Josh Levine, Cuarteto Guataca: When I’m not working, I do yoga, hang out on the music and dancing circuit, play music, ride a bicycle and take advantage of the parks.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York?
Jason Rosado, Givkwik Founder/CEO: Too many to count: Arturo’s on Houston for pizza. Delicatessen in SoHo for their appetizers. Pasteur in Chinatown for Vietnamese. La Dinastia China for excellent Chinese/Cuban cuisine.
Josh Levine, Cuarteto Guataca: My favorite restaurant in New York is Hecho en Dumbo on Bowery.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Jason Rosado, Givkwik Founder/CEO: It’s all about the kids. Givkwik is for the children because children are our future. We want to teach them well so we can let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside.
Kyle Grooms, Comedian: Hope everyone comes out to GIV.NYC. Should be a great event!