At last December’s International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans, Genoa Design International, St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada, launched an “Adopt a GenoaBear” initiative to support Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. It wasn’t the first time the GenoaBear appeared at the show.

“Two years ago we sent out invitations to our friends, customers and associates to come over to our booth and get a GenoaBear from Santa,” said Leonard Pecore, the company’s chief business development officer. “It went well. People seemed to really like it, but it wasn’t tied to any charitable donations then.”

The company was having fun with its GenoaBear on social media during the run-up to the WorkBoat Show in 2017. “We had the bear booking booth space, making travel arrangements. All kinds of things,” said Pecore. “It was fun and people were having fun with it.”

Then the idea came about to bring the bears again, a smaller version this time, for about 250 friends, associates and customers. “But this year we said we would make a charitable donation of $5 for every bear that was claimed,” said Pecore. “Then we said if they went home and sent us back a picture of the bear and its new home, we would double each contribution to $10.”

Pictures of the many adopted GenoaBears were collected and recently posted on Genoa’s Facebook page. On Feb. 23, the company presented a check for $2,000 to the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans.

The initiative was a success, so will the company do it again next year? “Not the same thing, no,” said Pecore. “Don’t know yet what we’ll do. But we’ve been coming to the WorkBoat Show since 2000-2001 and feel like New Orleans is our second home. We want to do something that ties back to the city.” Pecore said future plans would target other groups with needs.

Once other exhibitors read about this, Genoa might have some copycat initiatives for the 2018 show. “If this is a little spark to get others to do something like this, contributing back, that would be great,” said Pecore.


Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.