Gen Why Media

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Gen Why Media

Vancouver, CanadaCanada
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

A community-driven production group focused on reimagining and inspiring civic engagement among people under 40 years old.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Members of Generation Y — those born roughly between 1977 to 2001 — will number 9.2 million in Canada by 2011. According to Elections Canada, “political disengagement appears less a conscious decision to turn away from politics than a failure to see the importance of political participation, combined with a belief that traditional politics may not be providing effective mechanisms for translating desire into action." Generation Y has grown up with the media continuously warning us of the looming catastrophes facing humanity. Yet, up until now, messaging targeted at Gen Y has lacked an authentic and holistic facet explaining how the generation can engage in society in meaningful, creative and effective ways.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our solution is to engage our generation where they are - at the crossroads of the values revolution and the digital revolution. Headquartered in Vancouver, Gen Why Media is a collaborative production group specializing in media, events, workshops, public art and intergenerational dialogues that engage young people in new forms of public participation. Through a network of collaborative relationships, we work with independent creatives, community organizations, youth-driven collectives, advocacy groups and educational institutions to offer a diverse and appealing approach to civic issues. We have been told that our inspiring events and compelling media have sparked meaningful public dialogues that young people can relate to and believe in.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Gen Why Media is a community-based social enterprise focused on innovating approaches to civic engagement, targeted at Generation Y (people born roughly between 1977 and 1999). With a stylish approach and strategic demographic insights, we offer a unique combination of engagement strategy consultation, events and video production for organizations looking to engage a youth demographic. Driven by the mandate of civic engagement, our for-hire services directly support our community initiatives by providing a sustainable revenue stream. Our small-business-meets-non-profit model allows us to produce media and events which generate revenue but also partner with non-profit organizations in order to access grants for projects related to campaigns or social issues. Within this framework, our primary activities include: 1) Events: We showcase music, film, visual art, theatre, dance and dialogue to produce fun, lively, compelling events around social issues. 2) Intergenerational Dialogue: We bring generations together in a celebratory atmosphere to talk about social transformation and knowledge transfer. 3) Media production and communication: We create web videos and social media strategy for non-profit organizations looking to reach Generation Y. 4) Public art: We facilitate large-scale, text-based public art projects made from recycled and re-used materials as a positive and thought-provoking commentary on social phenomena.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Presently there are several organizations in Vancouver working towards social change with a focus on young people. Some of our peer organizations include, Truthfool Productions,, Check Your Head, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Purple Thistle, Environmental Youth Alliance and Kids for Climate Action. We don't see these organizations as competitors. Because we are all operating in close proximity, with limited resources and working toward the same goal of civic engagement and youth empowerment, it is in our interest to see these organizations as collaborators instead. As such, our challenge is to find innovative, efficient and effective ways of working with our peers in order to maximize the benefit for everyone involved.

Founding Story

Gen Why Media was conceived in February 2010 at a non-profit film school when the two founders (Tara Mahoney and Fiona Rayher) were discussing generational theory - a social sciences theory that attributes shifts in mass consciousness to generational shifts. We were inspired by how the theory explained generations reoccurring in cycles and that every four generations a “hero generation” is born. Characteristically hero generations go through a time of social crisis in their formative years and emerge civically minded, collectively orientated and with a constructive ethic of social discipline. With this in mind, we made a short documentary titled "Generation Why" that explored the potential of Generation Y to fundamentally change social structures for the better. The film was very well received and we were strongly encourage by our peers to continue down this road. We did and it's brought us to Gen Why Media.


Sarah Mintz's picture

Hi Tara, great entry, I really like what Gen Why is up to. Would you speak a bit to where you work in BC? Has Gen Why worked in more rural communities throughout the province? Thanks!

Sarah Mintz's picture

Hi Gen Why, your events look awesome and I love your designs. Do you have any upcoming convening events? Thanks!

Tara Mahoney's picture

Hi Sarah,

Our office is in Vancouver and up until now that's where our work is focused.

However, Fiona (co-director at Gen Why Media) is working on a feature documentary film about Hydraulic Fracturing in Northern BC. You can watch the trailer here:

Thanks for the encouragement :)

Tara Mahoney's picture

Hi Amanda,

I'm familiar with A is B - they do great work. Could you connect me with the founder?