National Philoptochos Society Commitments and Programs
- Academy of Saint Basil
- Autism Fund
- Children's Medical Fund
- Ecumenical Patriarchate
- Emergency Fund, National
- General Medical Fund
- Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology
- International Orthodox Christian Charities
- National Sisterhood of Presvyteres Benevolent Fund
- Orhodox Christian Fellowship
- Orthodox Christian Mission Center and Support a Mission Priest
- Retired Clergy and Widowed Presbyteras Benevolent Fund
- Saint Photios Shrine
- 75th Anniversary Founders Fund
- Social Services/Cancer and Other Major Illnesses Fund
- 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.
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 ongoing needs of the children of the Academy, such as clothing, furnishings, equipment and other essentials for the dormitories and kitchens, as well as support for the Graduation ceremonies and special awards for students.
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.
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.
The philanthropies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, such as Balukli Hospital and nursing home, schools, shrines and parishes, are supported through this commitment.
This fund enables the Philoptochos Society to immediately respond to those in need in times of national or international crisis.
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.
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.
The IOCC is the humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians, providing food, shelter, economic self-sufficiency and hope to those in need around the world. Philoptochos partners with IOCC to serve as first responders to major world disasters through and for education, health and major necessities.
The National Sisterhood of Presvyteres was established in 1982 and is comprised of all Presbyteres of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Philoptochos funds provide short-term support for clergy and/or their families in times of crisis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.