Philanthropy is defined as an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes.

Philanthropy is also synonymous with public spirit, selflessness and goodwill—three character traits one could use to describe Brenda Rosenberg.

“She above all donated her precious time and support to the hospital staff during the most trying period of 2020, when COVID-19 hit us and changed our lives significantly. We cannot thank her enough for what she has done,” said Chief of Emergency Services, Dr. Marc Afilalo.

A member of the Foundation’s board of directors since 2015, Brenda sprang into action when the JGH got called into battle during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I wanted to be a part of something special and to give back to my community,” Brenda shared.

The first health institution in Montreal to treat adult coronavirus patients, the JGH saw steadfast support from donors, board and staff members, as well as our neighbours and community-at-large.

Thus, The Hero Project was born.

Sustained and coordinated by the JGH Foundation and led by JGHF Board Members Brenda Rosenberg and Bita Cattelan, The Hero Project helped fuel doctors, nurses and support staff at the Jewish General Hospital by providing meals, fruits and snacks to these invaluable front-line staff who collectively worked around the clock to keep our community safe.

“What was great about The Hero Project was that you donated funds to feed healthcare workers, and then we supported local restaurants by ordering their food with those funds. People were doing what they could to be heroes at home, and we were able to feed healthcare workers and support local businesses,” Brenda said proudly. “It was a win-win-win for everyone!”

The Hero Project raised over $100,000 and served over 27,000 meals and snacks to Hospital Heroes during the peak of the first wave.

“I believe this initiative sets an example for the future in that people need to take some time, more time, to thank healthcare workers. I think it sets a tone for this being an everlasting project so that people can continue to appreciate and show gratitude to hospital staff, and not only in a time of crisis.”

Recognizing it takes a village, Brenda doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to thanking those that helped her make this possible.

“There were so many people, so many valuable people who helped make this possible. Valerie Manouk, Director of Annual Giving, was essential in getting this project off the ground and keeping it afloat. I don’t know what I would have done without her or countless others. I feel truly grateful for the whole experience.”