It’s been an active and busy summer with lots of important work being done in the name of the Foundation, as well as groundwork for the future. As you will see below, the entire Greek America Foundation team was active in implementing our programming.
All of these experiences have been duly shared with the public via the Foundation’s various social media accounts, which tens of thousands of people follow, as well as our 12,000+ email list during our monthly email updates.
AHEPA Supreme Convention – Award for Promotion of Hellenism
I was honored to have been chosen to receive an award by the largest and oldest organization in the country, the Order of AHEPA, at their 97th national convention. I was recognized for my work in promoting Hellenism, most of it revolving around the Foundation.
My acceptance speech focused on my work with the foundation, as well as announcing the new “Greek America Corps” initiative which we will grow out of our current Service Learning program.
During my time in Chicago, I also hosted private meetings with the AHEPA leadership, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago to discuss various collaborations, including obtaining the Church’s support and involvement in the Service Learning Program. All three individuals were open to working with us to support and help expand our volunteer program. See the announcement on our website, which includes the video from my acceptance speech where I discuss the Greek America Foundation’s work.
Marina Tsirambidis Donation
We were honored to receive a special donation to our Project Hope for Greece campaign from the teenage daughter of a long-time GAF supporter and 2014 Forty Under 40 winner — Julie Tsirambidis from Cleveland, Ohio.
Marina was touched by the work of the foundation and specifically our support of children’s charities, including Kivotos Tou Kosmou, and decided to donate $1000 of her graduation gift money to our campaign — earmarked for Kivotos. See announcement on our website
Meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt
I had a productive meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Greece while I was in Athens. We discussed a broad range of the Foundation’s activities, including our volunteer program which he complimented extensively for being an important bridge-builder between the people of the United States and Greece.
Visit to Kivotos Tou Kosmou (Ark of the World) in Athens and Chios
In July Chairman Manos Sifakis and I visited the home base of Kivotos Tou Kosmou — one of our partner charities in our current Project Hope for Greece campaign. During our visit we presented a $5000 check to Kivotos — our latest disbursement of campaign funds raised by our supporters throughout North America. See charity report and announcement on our website
While I was visiting our volunteer group in Chios I met with the founder of the charity, Father Antonios, and other staff in order to report back to our donors on the status of the charity — one of our partner charities in our Project Hope for Greece campaign. We discussed ideas about how to expand our relationship, including the possibility of sending volunteers to work with the charity next summer.
Visit to Hellenic American University
In July I met with the president and vice president of the Hellenic American University — our partner institution in Athens where our study abroad students attend for our “Semester in Athens” scholarships. We are hoping to offer more opportunities for young people from the United States and Canada with rewarding and enriching experiences of summer study abroad — as well as college credit for our volunteer program. See announcement on our website.
Visit With Stefanos Chandakas, Founder of HOPEgenesis
In July I met with Dr. Stefanos Chandakas, founder of HOPEgenesis — one of the charities we are supporting in our #ChildrenOfGreece campaign. In remote areas and isolated islands throughout Greece, HOPEgenesis provides comprehensive medical care for women who become pregnant until the day they give birth. During our meeting we discussed possible future synergies, including the Greek America Foundation’s ‘adoption’ of a particular island or region to help expand our support. See announcement on website
Chios Volunteer Program Successful
Our Service Learning program in Chios was extremely successful and made a transformative impact on the young adults from the US and Canada who participated. See announcement on our website.
I spent a week with the team on Chios, during which time I spoke to volunteers about expanding the program for next year, as well as with our GAF staff members about the day-to-day issues and how we can improve the experience for all involved.
At the end of the program the volunteers also initiated their own fundraiser to leave a “farewell gift” for the children at METAdrasi’s shelter. They raised nearly $2,400 in a matter of days. See their fundraiser page on our website.
$15,000 in Project Hope for Greece Donations
A total of $15,000 has been disbursed to charities in our #ChildrenOfGreece campaign including $5000 each to Kivotos Tou Kosmou (see announcement on our website) METAdrasi and HOPEgenesis (see announcement on our website).
As we state in our commitment to our donors, we stay in regular contact with the charities we support and report back via announcements and updates that we share via our email updates, website and social media.
“Border Souls” Film Screenings
In an effort to expand our cultural programming nationwide in a “virtual” manner, and simultaneously expand the footprint of the Greek America Foundation, we are promoting screenings of the film “Border Souls,” which the foundation supported. Several communities have expressed an interest in screening the documentary. We are charging a $250 screening fee. See trailer and details here.
The film tells the story of humanity and light during one of the darkest times in recent Greek history, when tens of thousands of refugees passed through small towns and villages to flee war back home for the safety of Europe. Such a story aligns with the work our volunteers have done with unaccompanied minors during our past two Service Learning programs in Greece.
Save the Date – November 22-24 Ft. Lauderdale Retreat and Board Meeting Weekend
We are working closely with GAF supporter, the honorable Dean Trantalis, Mayor of Ft. Lauderdale, who is helping us create an exciting retreat weekend for our board members and supporters. Please save the dates and details will follow in September.
2020 Gabby Awards
Unfortunately, The Plaza Hotel has given our selected date (May 16, 2020) to another group. They had requested a $40,000 deposit to reserve the space and we were not in the position to provide the deposit so quickly. I will look for alternative venues and report back ASAP. We are still shooting for May 16th weekend.
**At this point, we are hoping to create a board committee and also include non-board members as well. Please let me know if you’d like to serve on the committee, which includes support in fundraising and event planning.