Day of giving: Maimonides donates to local churches, thanks ‘dedicated’ staff at back-to-back events

Volunteers give Maimonides Health employees free lunches at a special Nov. 16 “thank you” to employees. The event took place the same day as the healthcare system’s annual Celebration of Light, during which Maimonides gives back to local churches ahead of the holidays.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

Maimonides Health on Wednesday hosted a pair of charitable events — one dedicated to giving back to local churches and another, to its own staff.

On Nov. 16, the sprawling Borough Park medical center hosted its 27th annual Celebration of Light inside Maimonides, where Monsignor David Cassato — a beloved longtime local pastor and a member of Maimonides’ board of trustees — joined hospital leaders to announce a generous donation to 43 local churches.

“Each year, the Celebration of Light brings together the incredible people of our community we have the privilege of serving and members of the Maimonides team. It’s a wonderful way to show our appreciation for our community and has the feel of a family reunion,” said Maimonides Health President and CEO Kenneth Gibbs. “We are fortunate to be celebrating and look forward to continuing this event for years to come.” 

Maimonides marked its 27th annual Celebration of Light on Nov. 16 by donating funds to 43 local churches.Maimonides Health

Each year, the healthcare system kicks off the holiday season by donating to local churches to offset the cost of their fundraising efforts, including extravagant tree lighting ceremonies for the community. As part of the program, which dates back to 1995, Maimonides gives each church funds for the purchase of their Christmas trees.

After local leaders and clergy-members marked another successful Celebration of Light, Maimonides officials took to outside the hospital to give back to its nurses, doctors and other staff with free lunches and other goodies. There, leaders also lauded the recent news that the medical center had been named one of the country’s top 50 best hospitals for both cardiac care and surgical care as well as being in the list of the top 100 best hospitals for orthopedic surgery for the second year in a row.

“It’s been very hard to keep sight of what’s important and what’s normal and what to expect,” Gibbs told the crowd outside. “We’ve come through the incredible challenges, we are dealing with incredible uncertainty and my point is that we’ve done it with excellence. And we are an incredible team. We chose today [to celebrate] in part because of the objective recognition from Healthgrade and US News, but we also chose today because the Thanksgiving holiday is coming up and it is a time to celebrate, it’s a time to connect and it’s a time to recognize the truths that are lasting.”

Maimonides Health President and CEO Kenneth Gibbs addresses the crowd Wednesday afternoon during the hospital’s staff give-back.

The event also allowed Maimonides to celebrate and recognize its nearly 8,000-strong staff. Maimonides Health is one of Brooklyn’s largest employers and is also the borough’s largest healthcare system.

“You are members of a large, diverse and dedicated staff,” Maimonides Board President Eugene Kailin said to the Maimonides healthcare workers gathered outside the hospital. “And we are all dedicated to the same issue; to provide superb medical care. Mostly to patients who live in Brooklyn and who would not have access to that care in Brooklyn close to their homes, families, friends and communities.”

Other community members and leaders stopped by Maimonides to to celebrate the medical center and its staff for providing care to residents of the borough.

Employees grab free swag from the Brooklyn Cyclones’ King Henry.Photo by Caroline Ourso

Councilmember Justin Brannan, who represents a swath of South Brooklyn including Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, attended the ceremony and also thanked the center for the personal significance it holds for him.

“I was born here at Maimonides and 20 years ago a doctor at Maimonides saved my life, something I will never forget,” the councilmember said. “I’m tired of hearing how Manhattan has everything great — Brooklyn is where it’s at. You can get world-class healthcare right here in Brooklyn thanks to the people at Maimonides. Thank you all so much for what you do. We’ve got your back, we know the truth, we know what you’re up to, we know the great service you provide day in and day out.”