New York.- By Vicki James Yiannias
Andrew C. Zachariades, chief executive officer and principal spokesperson of the entire AHEPA domain since his July 29, 2016 installation as Supreme President of the organization, continued his interview with the GN.
AZ: First, I will express our greatest appreciation and gratitude to Nancy P. Horton for the $1.25 million-dollar gift to the Charitable Foundation (Order of AHEPA)—the largest cash gift given at one time by a single donor in the organization’s 95-year history…an annual donation will be made in her name in support of the AHEPA Hospital in Thessaloniki. As you know, Nancy Horton was a tremendous philhellene who was a philanthropist, author and poet, the daughter of George Horton, the former United States Consul General in Athens and Smyrna at the time of the September 1922 Catastrophe, an eyewitness to the Catastrophe, about which he wrote in his book, “The Blight of Asia”. Nancy Horton’s generosity will help to address the dire effects of austerity measures on Greece’s public health sector where public hospitals’ budgets have been slashed and medical supplies recycled. This bequest attests to the integrity of our organization. This attests to the integrity of our organization; people trust us and give us money because they know where it’s going.
GN: What are some upcoming AHEPA events?
AZ: The Montreal AHEPA Family’s annual Saint Valentine’s Ball, a highly significant fundraising event for the benefit of various children’s causes in the Greater Montreal, is coming up on February 10. This year’s beneficiary will be the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at Jewish General Hospital. In 2014, $50,000 was raised toward the purchase of a GiraffeTM incubator. The AHEPA Family would like to continue supporting Dr. Apostolos Papageorgiou, Chief of Neonatology, and his dedicated team and their ever-growing needs.
GN: What institutions have benefitted from the event in the past?
AZ: Now in its seventeenth year, the event has raised more than $740,000 in support of institutions such as St. Justine’s Children’s Hospital, The Shriners Children’s Hospital, Giant Steps School for Autistic Children, the Jewish General Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the Socrates/Demosthenes Schools, Summit School and many more.
GN: Does the AHEPA National Housing Corporation continue to be the largest recipient of U.S. Department of Housing Section 202 Senior Citizens Housing (HUD) grants in the country?
AZ: HUD 202 has ended. AHEPA’s focus now is to develop assisted living for senior citizens,
to support as many assisted living units as possible. AHEPA has been a leader in providing affordable housing for low-income seniors and disabled persons for over thirty years and has more than 80 senior citizen housing projects completed or in development. AHEPA National Housing Corporation has nearly 4,700 apartments within 95 senior apartment communities, spanning 21 states, with more in development.
It’s a great community service-oriented program that helps us fulfill the mission of AHEPA, and is our proudest accomplishment. The AHEPA National Housing Corporation was founded in1983 with the goal of improving the quality of life for elderly citizens in apartment communities where they can live in dignity even on a modest income.
GN: You spoke about AHEPA’s “Journey to Greece” and “Washington Internships” programs as being very effective in drawing youth to the organization. Are there any new developments?
AZ: We’re trying to make the “Journey to Greece” program, which was started in 2006, bigger, with to make it bigger, offering applications to get matching grants from individuals or institutions.
Another project, begun by Nick Nickias, the annual Hellenic History Tournament, is unique to us, and promises to draw many young people. Once again, I’d like to draw attention to the immediate need to draw Millennials into AHEPA. Since the organization isn’t growing, and there is no new immigration, we have to understand how youth thinks, talks, the fact that they want change now, and that they are very democratic individuals…that’s what matters. It’s already in discussion. We’re not waiting. We are being very proactive. We have hired a Communications Director who will handle only this aspect of growing the organization through social media and whatever other means will be explored, to expand the membership of AHEPA, thus its horizons for its success going the into future.
Zachariades and his wife, Antoinette, are members of Evangelismos Greek Orthodox Church in Jersey City, New Jersey., and have three children.
Visit the AHEPA website, www.ahepa.org, for more information about AHEPA, the AHEPA Family, and its many worthy programs and projects that benefit society.