When I moved to D.C. after college, I wanted not only to be part of a vibrant Jewish community – I wanted to help build it.” He found his opportunity through the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.
A fourth-generation Washingtonian, Matthew’s Jewish journey began among his community in Potomac. But it flourished on a college semester in Prague, where he felt drawn to the city’s Jewish past and a sense of ownership of its Jewish quarter, introducing visiting friends and family to the centuries-old synagogues and relics of colorful ghetto life.
With a new appreciation for Jewish heritage, Matthew sought an outlet to “create a greater web of meaningful connections” as he started his insurance planning career in D.C. Through the Federation, he found a robust network providing the reach and access he craved.
Today, at the age of the 30 – and the first member of his family to assume a leadership role with The Federation – he’s made Jewish networking fundamental to his life, connecting Jews, whether its for business, social or philanthropic reasons. He’s regularly organizing networking breakfasts for the Ben Gurion Society, the young leadership group he chairs, whose members donate at least $1,000 each year to The Federation’s annual campaign. Last year, he chaired Impact DC, the annual young leadership black-tie gala, which yielded some $30,000 for The Federation. And through his own involvement in The Federation’s formal business group, The Network, he’s met some of Washington’s most influential business leaders. Such connections along with the meaningful relationships he’s developed as a volunteer have significantly expanded his business.
“I got involved in The Federation to do positive things for my community and to fulfill this passion that I have, but there are these wonderful byproducts that come along with that as well,” he says, referring to not only the growth of his business but the meaningful friendships he has made and his own leadership development.
Meanwhile, Friedson feels fueled by what he calls The Federation’s “magnifying effect.” “The Federation has such deep organizational ties – not just in our community but around the world – which allows those of us who get involved to have a far greater impact than what we could ever have on our own,” he says. And as for that web he’s building, it, too, is greater than the sum of its parts. “I’m just a little piece of our community’s growing web, and my hope is to help more and more people find their own passion and meaningful connection so they can help us further grow and improve our community.