George D. Behrakis, Chairman of Leadership 100, joined Metropolitan Iakovos and five of its six Founders, kicked off The 25th
Anniversary Fund at a membership meeting and at the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees meetings, all gathered in Chicago from September 27 to 29.
Behrakis, who reiterated the same theme at meetings of the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees, presented a check for $300,000 raised from Leadership 100 members to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios for the Greek Fire Relief Fund established by the Archdiocese, pointing out that total commitments to date from Leadership 100 members have reached $3 million. His Eminence, who praised the commitment of Leadership 100 for the contribution, also praised the new thrust to raise more funds through The 25th Anniversary Fund to advance Orthodoxy and Hellenism in America. Behrakis introduced a new 25th Anniversary brochure and DVD and the second issue of The Leader which featured George P. Kokalis.
The 25th Anniversary Fund, which will mark the 25th Anniversary of Leadership 100 in 2009 aims to increase membership to 1,000 (it now counts 725 members), increase fulfilled members to 500 (now 319), the Endowment Fund to $100 million (now some $66 million) and annual grants to $5 million (now averaging 2.5 million a year).
In addressing some 50 members, including 8 new members, and guests, at the kickoff membership meeting, co-hosted by Andrew A. Athens, Leadership 100’s first chairman and one of its six founders, along with L100 members Demetrios Kotsakis, Jim Logothetis and Peter P. Parthenis, Behrakis said: “Greeks must be proud of a heritage looked to for inspiration by America’s Founding Fathers.” He cited the significant gains made by Greeks in education, the professions, and business. “By reaching 1,000 members we will pass the Olympic Torch to the next generation who will go to 2,000 and 5,000 members, educating future generations in Orthodoxy and Hellenism.” He challenged each member to bring in one new member by December 31, 2008.
Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago told the gathering that “besides the grace of God, Leadership 100 is the only guarantee of the continuation of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.”
Besides Athens, other Founders attending included George K. Chimples, Arthur C. Anton, Peter M. Dion and Michael Jaharis George P. Kokalis, who recently celebrated his 98th birthday was unable to attend. Kokalis and Anton both are former chairmen of the organization. Vice Chairman Stephen G. Yeonas, membership Chairman John A. Payiavlas and Executive Director (Interim) Paulette Poulos also addressed the meeting.