Infusing Philanthropy and Gratitude Into Everyday Life

Infusing Philanthropy and Gratitude Into Everyday Life - Gratitude Story

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Emily Briton, vice president of professional services at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, understands the importance of giving back. When her oldest daughter Maya was born prematurely seven years ago, she was placed in the neonatal intensive care unit at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Grateful for her healthy recovery during the holiday season of Hanukkah, Briton and her husband Zach decided they would begin a family tradition and that gratitude would be an integral part of it.Emily Briton

“In Judaism, there is a concept called tikkun olam which means ‘repairing the world’, or giving to others,” Briton shares. “It’s become a big part of our teachings and what we do, and it plays a big part of Hanukkah in our house.” When their children were younger, the couple chose which charitable organizations to support on their behalf. Today, seven-year-old Maya and four-year-old Noa play an active role in choosing what synagogue, school, or organization they would like to see benefit from their own savings and Hanukkah funds they gather throughout the year.

This past year, the girls chose to give to MedStar Washington in honor of their mother’s work during the pandemic. “This year was particularly impactful since I was at the hospital a lot. It was hard for little kids to understand why mom was away so much,” Briton says. “We had a lot of conversations with them about the important work MedStar Health is doing to help them get past their fear and feel proud of what I do.” With the help of their father, the family surprised Briton by making a philanthropic gift in her honor.

The lessons of helping others and giving back to your community are lessons being taught in the children’s school. “I think for them it feels second-nature, it wasn’t a surprise that they would choose to give to the places that are so meaningful in our lives--and this year MedStar Health played a large role in that,” Briton says.

The family has also posted about their designated Hanukkah gift to the organization of their choice in recent years, which inspired friends to do the same. “It’s great to see others highlighting an organization they care for,” she says.

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