23March

Generations of Giving

Three Generations of Tritt Give Back

Generations of Giving

There’s a culture of giving in the Tritt family, which becomes clear when you look at what Dr. Ramie Tritt, his wife, Joyce, and their children have done for JF&CS and the community. In the past decade, not only have they donated significantly in both time and money, but they have started several programs — including the 3-year-old Ramie A. Tritt Family Foundation Volunteers in Action (VIA) Leadership Program at JF&CS.

“We’re big on leadership, education, health and community support,” said Dr. Tritt, a physician originally from Montreal. “JF&CS falls into all of them. It meets the needs of people who aren’t as advantaged as we are.”
The VIA program came about through discussions with JF&CS’ senior leadership, who wanted to get more young people involved. The Tritts all agreed a leadership training program focusing on young prospective leaders was a worthy cause and voted to support it in one of their foundation meetings.

The foundation, which comprises both parents, their four children (Lorne, Shawn, Jordan and Carly) and their children’s spouses (Arin, Tova, Erica and David), formed in 2001. It focuses on big community projects. The children also donate to whichever charities they choose to support. The parents offer matching gifts to encourage them to give.

“Ramie and Joyce have done a great job of transferring the values of “tzedakah” and “tikkun olam” to their children and their spouses,” said Rick Aranson, CEO of JF&CS. “Collectively, they have made a great impact on JF&CS and on the community as a whole.”

For Joyce Tritt, a nurse at The Epstein School, that’s what it’s all about. “It has been a blessing to work with our children on so many important causes in the community. We all love being involved and feeling like we have made a difference in somebody’s life.”

The younger Tritts began getting involved as teenagers. “We learned back then to appreciate what we have,” said Carly Siegel, the only daughter. She volunteered with charities when she was in high school. “We understood how privileged we were, and we needed to help those less fortunate.”

After taking part in JF&CS’ Mitzvah Day and other events, she participated in the Tritt Leadership Program during its first year. Now, she is co-chairing it for the second time. “I love that you’re able to help facilitate and foster leadership and still get hands-on experience helping people. That’s part of what I love about JF&CS.”

She and her husband, David, have a 6-month-old son. “We want him to appreciate what we have, learn to give back and understand he needs to help other people. That’s part of being in a community.”

Arin Tritt, married to Lorne, previously worked for JF&CS and has continued to be involved with programs and events. Two years ago, she joined the JF&CS board, and this year is co-chairing The Tasting. “Now that I’m in a different phase of life, I’m involved in a different capacity and giving back in a different way.”

The two want their children to recognize how fortunate they are. “It’s such a privilege to give back. That’s something Ramie reinforces. You should give happily. I want my children to understand that value and embody it as they get older.”

Erica Tritt, married to Jordan, agrees. Both want their young son and daughter to understand the concept of “chesed,” or kindness. “I like that our kids see us as active members of the community. They know we value the personal involvement. We want them to give of their money but also of themselves and their time to better the Jewish community.”

The couple credits the foundation for “encouraging us to grow and develop our own philanthropic goals and ties to community.”

For Dr. Tritt, credit goes to his parents. Born in Israel, they moved to Montreal when he was a toddler. “My parents were immigrants. They gave mainly to Israeli causes and the local Jewish Federation. They didn’t have much wealth but gave what they could.”

Similarly, Joyce Tritt, a second-generation Canadian, has a modest background. “My parents worked full time, but with no profession, they had very limited means. They donated small amounts to charities and always said giving something was better than not giving at all.”

When did it become important for them to set an example for their kids? “From the day we became parents,” said Dr. Tritt.

While they did not have much in the early years, Joyce Tritt volunteered in many organizations. “I believe this was part of setting the example for our children.”

Over time, they became more comfortable giving to charity — and not just monetarily.

“Whatever I have, I feel I can share,” Dr. Tritt said. “And I believe in leading by example. If you want others to get involved and give of themselves in time and money, you have to do the same. I want people to give more of themselves and realize life is short and unpredictable. If you have the emotional, physical and fiscal ability to help those less fortunate, you will find the universe gives back to you more than you actually give of yourself.”

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