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Multi-generational giving shapes Markham family’s legacy with MSH

Philanthropy is a family affair for the Morrises. Nancy and Eric Morris moved to Markham with their two children, Brad and Jennifer, in 1977. A close-knit family, the Morrises have grown up sharing and doing everything together—weekly dinners, vacationing, and leading a business, Grote Industries. But it was matriarch Nancy’s career as a nurse that nurtured a multi-generational passion for supporting health care and Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH).

“We were brought up with a culture of ‘do what you can’ to get involved,” explains Brad. “It really came from a place of first respecting what mom did, who she is, and what she represents.”

The Morris family has made giving back to MSH a cornerstone of their values. Brad is a former Board Chair of MSH Foundation, an MSH Hero, a monthly donor, and is involved in countless community fundraisers, including The Annual MSH Foundation Golf Tournament—the Foundation’s longest-running community event. He even trekked Mount Everest to raise money for MSH in 2018.

Brad and his wife Lara have fostered the family tradition of getting involved at MSH with their daughters, Hannah and Erica, from a young age. As children, Erica and Hannah asked to donate to MSH on their birthdays for multiple years.

“We have exposed them as much as possible to areas we have chosen to get involved in and support,” says Brad. “The lesson that government doesn’t fund the hospital’s priority needs is an important one.”

Having MSH close to home has made all the difference for the Morris family. They have experienced generations of care there, from the births of Erica and Hannah to the compassionate palliative care Lara’s mother received.

Currently, Brad’s sister Jennifer is navigating her recent diagnosis of diabetes at MSH’s Adult Diabetes Clinic. “We cannot say enough about the entire Adult Diabetes Clinic team. Their comfort, their professionalism, their support in navigating something that at first can feel intimidating or scary, makes all the difference,” says Brad.

“It’s peace of mind having a hospital close to you,” Nancy adds.

Each Morris family member is proud to be a legacy donor, having made the personal decision to leave MSH as a beneficiary in their wills. The Morrises recognize legacy giving as a powerful way to extend their support while also building their family’s own unique story for its future generations.

“In the end, you hope you have created an environment that helps your kids feel safe, happy, and healthy—that’s my checklist,” says Brad.  “There’s an expectation and a hope for what we believe the MSH Foundation can do. From start of life to end, there is one thing we all share—that we are going to need the hospital at one, or multiple, stages of our life.”

“It’s also about finding your own capacity to give, which doesn’t have to be a lot,” adds Nancy. “You give what you can.”

Above all, the Morrises believe that everyone should be empowered to own their story and how it is remembered. “Define what legacy means to you and then create and protect that. Why would you leave someone else to decide for you?” asks Brad.

May is Leave a Legacy month in Canada, a time to highlight the impact of providing a charitable contribution that ensures a lifetime of care for our growing, aging, and diverse community. Naming MSH Foundation in your will is a powerful act of giving.

To learn more, contact Elaine Bernard, Senior Development Officer, MSH Foundation, at 905-472-7373 ext. 6619 or [email protected] or visit www.mshf.on.ca.


Photo: The Morris family at a recent visit to Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital.

Story submitted by Katie Jordon.   

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