New York, NY – With individual checks to the 14 Greek Orthodox widows of September 11th totaling $280,000, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has neared final distribution of all the monies collected by the September 11th Relief Fund. Established immediately after the horrific events of September 11th by Archbishop Demetrios, the Fund has collected over $2,108,000. “The outpouring of love from the faithful of our Archdiocese has been overwhelming and testifies to the magnanimity of our people who responded so generously to the needs of those so adversely affected by the barbaric attacks,” stated His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios.
His Eminence continued, “Within hours we were at the site to not only witness the devastation but to offer prayers on behalf of the innocent victims. While we can do nothing to replace those lost in this tragedy, we felt a moral and sacred obligation to help those left behind and we can be proud of the quick response of our Church. Representatives of the Archdiocese were in communication immediately with the families as soon as the identity of victims was made known and the Church has offered whatever spiritual, emotional and material support She could to the widows, the children, the parents and all the loved ones of those lost.”
From its inception, gifts large and small poured into the Archdiocese. From the grant and gifts totaling $587,550 from Leadership 100, to the gift from the Holy Trinity parish of New Rochelle (NY) which donated the proceeds of their annual festival ($52,000), to the individual dollars sent in from Sunday School children, the response of the faithful was swift and selfless. Within a short period of time, grants were being sent to the families of Greek and other Orthodox victims to help get them through the holiday season.
“From the start we felt an awesome responsibility,” explained His Grace Bishop Andonios, who as Director of the Archdiocesan Department of Philanthropy, directly oversees the Fund. “The members of the September 11th Relief Fund Committee did their utmost to see that the monies entrusted to the Archdiocese by the faithful were given where they were most needed.” After careful review, the Committee decided to award grants on an escalating scale (the younger children receiving higher amounts) to the 20 orphaned children of the Greek Orthodox community. Since it was impossible to adequately investigate the individuals needs of those outside of the Greek Orthodox community, it was decided to make donations to two of the larger funds, the Cantor Fitzgerald Fund and to the Fund of the Port Authority Police. These two groups did not enjoy the tremendous support from the community-at-large. A special affinity was felt for Cantor Fitzgerald not only because they lost the highest number of employees, over 600 of their close to 1000 personnel, but also because 6 of those lost were members of the Greek Orthodox community.
As per the policy of the Archdiocese of “full accountability and transparency”, a Financial Report on the Fund has been an integral part of the Archdiocese September 11th web page and has been accessible to everyone logging onto the site. “We wanted to respect the privacy of the families who suffered such a loss, so we have refrained from including names of those who received grants but at the same time we felt the need to keep the faithful updated on what was being done with their donations,” His Grace continued. “No administrative fees have been deducted from the Fund and all monies collected have gone to those in need. I don’t know how many other Funds can make that noteworthy claim.”
The members of the September 11th Committee include His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, His Grace Bishop Savas, Chancellor of the Archdiocese, His Grace Bishop Andonios, Rev. Alex Karloutsos, Mr. Michael Jaharis, Mr. Peter Dion, Mr. Manny Demos and Mr. Jerry Dimitriou.
The Financial Report on the Fund can be accessed on the September 11th web page on the Archdiocese web site (www.goarch.org), where it can be viewed under “Special Sites”, or it can be accessed directly at the following address:http://www.goarch.org/en/special/september11/relief_fund_report.asp