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September 2012 Observer

Find Philoptochos on Page 7

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National Philoptochos Society Commitments and Programs

  1. Academy of Saint Basil
  2. Autism Fund 
  3. Children's Medical Fund
  4. Ecumenical Patriarchate
  5. Emergency Fund, National
  6. General Medical Fund
  7. Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology 
  8. International Orthodox Christian Charities
  9. National Sisterhood of Presvyteres Benevolent Fund
  10. Orhodox Christian Fellowship 
  11. Orthodox Christian Mission Center and Support a Mission Priest
  12. Retired Clergy and Widowed Presbyteras Benevolent Fund
  13. Saint Photios Shrine
  14. 75th Anniversary Founders Fund
  15. Social Services/Cancer and Other Major Illnesses Fund
  16. United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund

The National Philoptochos Commitments are adopted by the Chapter delegates at the National Philoptochos Biennial Conventions and approved by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios. Each local Chapter supports these commitments through various fundraising activities.  Funds are collected in specified months.

Academy of Saint Basil

In March 1944, Archbishop Athenagoras recommended that the Philoptochos Society purchase the 250 acre Rupert Estate in Garrison, New York, located on the shores of the Hudson River, directly across from the United States Military Academy at West Point. With that purchase, Philoptochos undertook the daunting task of completely renovating the property. Today, Philoptochos remains a major financial supporter of the Academy through two ministry commitments:

Vasilopita: Held in January by every chapter in the United States, this event provides a major source of funding for the Academy’s operating expenses.

Sisterhood: The Sisterhood fund provides for the physical needs of the children, including clothing, furnishings, equipment and other essentials for the dormitories and kitchens; graduation celebrations, and awards and gifts. Additionally, the Fund facilitates the mission of Saint Basil Academy which is “to shelter, protect, love and educate the youth so that they grow up to be healthy, wholesome, well-rounded Orthodox Christians, as well as productive members of society with vision and hope.”

In 2014, the National Philoptochos contributed $371,950 to the Academy of Saint Basil for both the Vasilopita and Sisterhood Funds. Over the past 10 years, National Philoptochos has contributed approximately $4 million to the Academy.

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Autism Fund

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has called Autism a “national public health crisis” more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. This fund provides assistance and support to persons within the Autism spectrum and promotes education to heighten Autism awareness.

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Children's Medical Fund

Since its establishment in 1989, the Children's Medical Fund has sought to provide medical assistance to critically ill Greek, Greek American and Orthodox children, whose families are unable to afford appropriate and necessary medical treatment. The Fund also provides grants for innovative research programs to pediatric hospitals throughout the United States and to organizations with special programs that care for children with critical and life threatening illnesses.

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Ecumenical Patriarchate

The philanthropies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, such as Balukli Hospital and nursing home, schools, shrines and parishes, are supported through this commitment.

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Emergency Fund, National

This fund enables the Philoptochos Society to immediately respond to those in need in times of national or international crisis.

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General Medical Fund

Philoptochos receives numerous requests for financial assistance for adults afflicted with medical conditions which are outside the scope of restricted funds now established by the Society. The Society utilizes this fund to provide assistance in those cases where appropriate funding is not otherwise available.

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Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology

Archbishop Athenagoras established the Holy Cross School of Theology in June 1937, in Pomfret, Connecticut. The Archbishop addressed a special appeal to the Philoptochos to devote themselves to the School, “where your sons will be educated as priests and teachers.” Over seventy-five years later, Philoptochos continues its strong commitment to and financial support of Hellenic College/Holy Cross through the following programs:

  • Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded to worthy and dedicated students, both men and women at Hellenic College and seminarians at Holy Cross to assist with tuition expenses.
  • Lenten Event: On the Third Sunday of Lent, observing the Veneration of the Holy Cross, Philoptochos chapters sponsor a Lenten Event, following the Divine Liturgy, with proceeds dedicated to operating expenses of the School.

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International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)

IOCC, in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need world-wide, without discrimination, to enable them to continue to improve their own lives and communities and to have means to live with dignity, respect and hope. In addition, with team members on the ground at disaster sites, the IOCC strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to respond quickly and compassionately. IOCC has distributed nearly $500 million in emergency assistance and development programs to families and communities in more than 50 countries and across 4 continents.

Philoptochos has been committed to generously supporting IOCC. The mission and focus of IOCC, of helping those in great need, is deeply aligned with the work that Philoptochos also seeks to do.

Through the years, and with the generosity of the chapters, Philoptochos has partnered with IOCC on many projects. Some of these projects include:

  • The distribution of two containers, each containing 280 wheelchairs.  These wheelchairs were distributed to 280 individuals in the Republic of Georgia and to 280 indiciduals in Thessaloniki, Greece.  In addition, funds collected from the chapters provided for vocational training for the 560 individuals who received the wheelchairs.
  • The establishment of a Children’s Medical Clinic in Woliso, Ethiopia in the Western Highlands.
  • The   Fund   has   provided   for   donationstowards famine relief in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia as well as for 2 shipments of cholera kits with pharmaceuticals and supplies to treat the victims of cholera and dysentery due to the Pakistani floods.
  • Philoptochos in partnership with IOCC was among the first responders to send aid in support of the victims suffering as a result of the economic crisis in Greece.
  • In 2014, the National Philoptochos donated $45,000 in continued support to Ethiopia for the prevention and treatment of the epidemic tropical disease, Podoconiosis. Podoconiosis is a disease of the lymph vessels of the lower extremities that is caused by chronic exposure to irritant soils. It is characterized by prominent swelling of the lower extremities, which leads to disfigurement and disability. To help prevent this disease, the Philoptochos partnered with IOCC and Tom’s Shoes to provide shoes for women and children in Ethiopia.
  • Over the past 10 years, National Philoptochos has donated a total of $482,275 to IOCC.

All chapters are urged to continue their generous support for this vital national ministry commitment.

For information, please contact IOCC coordinators Patricia Aleck and Athanasia Ward.

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National Sisterhood of Presvyteres Benevolent Fund (APC-NSP)

The National Sisterhood of Presvyteres was established in 1982 and is comprised of all Presvyteres of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Philoptochos funds provide short-term support for clergy and/or their families in times of crisis.

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Orthodox Christian Fellowship Fund (OCF)

The OCF mission is to support fellowships on college campuses, whose members experience and witness the Orthodox Church through community life, prayer, service to others and study of faith. The fund provides support to more than 240 local OCF chapters throughout the country.

Orthodox Christian Fellowship, the official campus ministry program under the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States, keeps Orthodox students connected to Christ and His Church during their college years.  Philoptochos continues to be a proud partner with OCF, striving to support fellowship on college campuses whose members experience and witness the Orthodox Christian Church through community life, prayer, service to others and study of the Faith. Our youth are the church leaders of tomorrow, so it is imperative that we keep them connected to our faith. 

The OCF fund was started in 2009, and since then Philoptochos has distributed $132,200.

To find out more about these programs please visit www.ocf.net.   

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Orthodox Christian Mission Center and Support a Mission Priest (OCMC-SAMP)

The Society offers financial assistance to the OCMC missionary teams, strengthening their ability to carry the message of the Orthodox Church throughout the world. In addition, this ministry enables Orthodox bishops and priests in mission areas to build and restore churches, community centers, schools and medical facilities, and to participate in training, teaching and field management.

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Retired Clergy and Widowed Presvyteres Benevolent Fund (RCA)

The Retired Clergy Association (RCA) of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America was established in 1988 to provide support for retired clergy who face financial challenges.

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Saint Photios Shrine 

In 1965, the Archdiocese purchased the Avero House in historic Saint Augustine, Florida, to commemorate the arrival of the first Greek settlers in the New World in 1768. Philoptochos continues its commitment to provide financial assistance towards the preservation of the National Shrine.

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75th Anniversary Founders Fund

Celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Philoptochos Society, this fund provides financial support to Greek Orthodox older adults and their families to assist with housing, utilities, unreimbursed or uncovered medical expenses, home health care, hospice, funerals and safety equipment, special approved projects and also provides support to existing continuing care facilities serving the aging Greek Orthodox population in the United States, and may support the establishment of similar facilities.

The 75th Anniversary Founders Fund was created in 2006 to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Founding of Philoptochos and the lasting contributions and memory of its founding members.  This discretionary ministry commitment provides financial support to older adults and their families, as well as long-term care facilities serving aging Greek Orthodox individuals throughout the United States.

The 75th Anniversary Founders fund started collecting donations in 2007, with $234,855 distributed to date.  

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Social Services/Cancer and Other Major Illnesses Fund

Following the recommendations of Archbishop Iakovos, Philoptochos has, since the late 1950s, focused on the implementation of important programs to benefit the Greek Orthodox Community, including but not limited to the institutions of the church, but also programs assisting Orthodox families. Emerging social and moral issues motivated the establishment of several committees to address topics such as child abuse prevention, domestic violence, homelessness, pornography, drug and alcohol abuse and aging.

Since 1987, the National Philoptochos Office has employed a licensed Social Worker to assist the Greek Orthodox community in the United States, as well as Greek and Cypriot nationals. The Department of Social Services is a critical and vital component of the Society. The mission of the Department is to improve the quality of life of those in need, in a way that maintains the dignity and self-respect of the individual. Through confidential and professional services, the office provides outreach, education, information, support, motivation, advocacy, financial assistance and referrals to local and broader resources.

Please note that at the 2014 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention, a resolution was adopted by the delegates and approved by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, expanding the long-established Cancer Fund to include Cancer and other major illnesses. Accordingly, the former Cancer Fund is now known as the Cancer and Other Major Illnesses Fund.

Click here for the Philoptochos Social Services Department.

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United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

In 1979, to commemorate the United Nation’s “International Year of the Child.” Philoptochos was designated a Non-Governmental Organization, working with the United Nations and UNICEF. Philoptochos’ donations help this global-organization protect the rights, health and well-being of children worldwide.

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National Philoptochos is pleased to announce a new initiative with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF End Trafficking Program.  Human trafficking has been likened to modern-day slavery that subjects children, women and men to force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor. 

Our new initiative will focus on actionable projects that chapters across the country can implement immediately:

  1. Choosing ethically sourced, or “Fair Trade” coffee, tea, wine
  2. Distributing End Trafficking postcards in public places
  3. Entering the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 in personal phones

More details will be forthcoming on this website, regarding these and other programs in our partnership with the U.S Fund for UNICEF End Trafficking Program.