One year ago, the Greek America Foundation launched Project Hope for Greece, a movement aimed at creating a critical mass of philanthropy amongst North Americans in response to the worst financial and humanitarian crisis facing Greece in an entire generation.
The organization developed a plan to enlist “Ambassadors of Hope” who would organize fundraising events to benefit transparent and sustainable charities in Greece and also to raise awareness about the humanitarian problems unfolding as a result of the financial crisis.
Dozens of people rose to the occasion, donating and hosting fundraisers at the grassroots level in support of this effort. As a result the organization through its supporters, accomplished their goal to launch this vital movement that continues to gain steam all over the North American continent.
In September 2013, the Greek America Foundation distributed the first wave of funds, $60,000, to five worthy organizations in Greece. An additional $30,000 to four organizations was recently disbursed, with three new nonprofit recipients. The charities included in this second phase of support are:
$1370 – Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Kydonias and Apokoronou
The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Kydonias and Apokoronou, located in Hania, Crete, Greece has launched impressive efforts to feed hundreds of people weekly through a network of soup kitchens. The program, headed by Archimandrite Damaskinos Lionakis, has touched the lives of thousands of people impacted by the financial crisis and increased unemployment in Hania. Project Hope for Greece’s donation is for the Metropolis’ work in feeding the poor across its jurisdiction.
$15,000 – Smile of the Child
“Smile of the Child” is a non-profit voluntary organization. The charity’s main concern is defending children’s rights, providing services to children on a 24-hour, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, working for their physical, mental, and psychological stability. The Hellenic Society Prometheas, Inc. has been our main fundraising partner in support of this nonprofit. Proud to support Project Hope for Greece and be a Hope for Greece Ambassador, this is what the organization had to say about their participation:
“The Hellenic Society Prometheas, Inc. is proud to be a contributor to the Greek America Foundation’s (GAF) Project Hope for Greece fund, earmarked for the Smile of the Child, a non-profit organization in Greece. Through various fundraising events over the past year, our Society has been able to raise over $39,000, almost exclusively from individual Prometheas members in the Washington DC metropolitan area, to assist in the effort to address the problems of children in Greece and to champion their rights. We are also pleased to be named a ‘Hope for Greece Ambassador’ by GAF. We are particularly gratified to aid in this endeavor and to help– in a small way– bring a smile to their faces”
$4,000 – Kivotos Tou Kosmou
This non-profit organization was founded in 1998 by a young Greek Orthodox priest, Father Antonios. He has dedicated his life to rescuing hundreds of disadvantaged Greek and immigrant youngsters (including babies) from the brink of social exclusion. The state has entrusted him and his organization with the parental guardianship rights of more than two dozen children whose parents are jobless and homeless. With the help of volunteers, he also cares for some 400 boys and girls who come to his center before and after school each day for a hot meal and help with their homework. Father Antonios also helps mothers get back on their feet, by helping them find employment.
His work has not gone unnoticed. Kivotos Tou Kosmou (“Ark of the World” in English) has been awarded by two Greek Presidents (Konstantinos Stefanopoulos in 2003 and Karolos Papoulias in 2005). The European Observatory against Racism and Xenophobia has described Ark as “the brightest example against Racism and Xenophobia in Greece” for the year 2003. And in 2004, the Kivotos was awarded by UNESCO. Kivotos depends exclusively on donations.
This first donation to Kivotos is being made through the efforts of Project Hope for Greece Ambassador, Artemis Kohas. Artemis hosted a Mardi Gras party on Feb 27th at Yanni’s Taverna in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where 100 guests attended in support. The event included complimentary Greek food from Yianni’s Taverna, wines by Boutari, spirits from Skinos Mastiha Spirit, swag from I LOVE MASTIHASHOP NY and live music by Apollo orchestras featuring Lefteris Bournias.
$10,000 – Animal Zone International
Animal Zone International (AZI) is a non-profit organization founded in 2007, dedicated to the protection of animals and the environment, the establishment of veterinary clinics on a free or low-cost basis, and providing general education to the public promoting the humane treatment of animals.
AZI focuses its operations on the Greek island of Amorgos. Their goals include controlling (through spaying and neutering) and treating (with vaccines and anti-parasitical medicine) the stray cat and dog population, providing shelter to neglected dogs, addressing the issue of neglected and mistreated mules and donkeys, and establishing a local society for the protection of animals.
This donation has been made possible through the generosity of the Peter & Paula Fasseas Foundation. Paula Fasseas is the founder of PAWS, Chicago’s largest no kill and adoption center, in 1997. Her inspiration for starting the nonprofit came from a resourceful and spunky terrier, Pippen, that Paula and her family adopted while they were vacationing on their ancestral island of Crete.
Pippen brought the family such love that Alexis Fasseas, daughter of Paula and Peter, opted to fill her high school community service at the local humane society, where she was shocked to learn that homeless cats and dogs did not face a better life in the United States but were euthanized by the thousands.
As a response, Paula and Alexis Fasseas founded PAWS Chicago, which soon developed into a comprehensive humane organization, dedicated to bringing the proven life saving No Kill methodology to Chicago and eliminate the killing of homeless pets.