My Ancestors & My Life

Seminole, FL - 323pp - October 2008

[ Chapter: The Birth Of The GOA Endowment Foundation
   - Leadership 100
- pp. 276-282 ]


Later on named Archbishop Iakovos
Endowment Foundation — Leadership 100

Before commenting on the above subject, I would like to bring to attention certain historical facts that took place at the Archdiocese prior to the establishment of the above endowment foundation.


During the 1970's, because His Eminence Iakovos needed additional funds to provide the necessary resources to sustain the Archdiocesan National Ministries, he established LOGOS (League of Greek Orthodox Stuarts) with Mr. Arthur C. Anton, Chairman. In a letter dated November 1977 to me signed by Mr. Anton, he states, "Because of the genuine love and concern you have exemplified for the Church, our Archbishop would very much like to bestow the Saint Andrews Medallion to all great benefactors. Since it is the wish of His Eminence to personally bestow this honor upon you." In an other letter of LOGOS, from His Eminence of February 13, 1978, he states, "I wish to express my sincere gratitude for your generous contributions offered to the League of Greek Orthodox Stewards." In another letter from His Eminence Iakovos dated September 14, 1979, he states, "It is with great pleasure to extend an invitation to you to he my guest at a special dinner to be held on Friday evening, October 12, 1979 at 8:00pm at the Waldorf Astoria (Empire Room) located at 50th Street and Park Avenue in New York City. This dinner, which is given in honor of the LOGOS Great Benefactors, will afford me an opportunity to personally express my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to you for your valuable support offered to this Stewardship program of our beloved church."

| The LOGOS program lasted for over twenty years as a few months after the election of His Eminence Spyridon as archbishop, he sent me a thank you letter in January 1997, with an enclosure receipt of $2000, my contribution to LOGOS that year.


In another letter from the Archdiocese to me dated April 6, 1984, signed by Kristine Coologeorgen, the Archdiocese started a new fund called "The National Endowment Foundation through the life insurance program", confirmed to me by Father Constantine Sitaras in his letter of April 25, 1986, asking for my third premium payment of $4604.22 on the life insurance policy of $100,000 on my wife Anastasia. The Archdiocese being the owner and beneficiary of that policy and all the benefits. The underwriter of this policy was the Connecticut Mutual Lie Insurance of Hartford Connecticut. According to the insurance company premium pay schedule, the number of payments were for five years of $4604.22 annually on my wife's life covering all premiums of her policy for the duration of the policy. There were a number of similar policies by a number of Stewards of the Church. How many of them I do not know. I also do not know whether the life policy on my wife, Anastasia, is still in effect.

His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos was still unhappy as the income from all the above plans was not enough to meet the needs of the Archdiocesan institutions and was talking to me on several occasions that additional funds ought to he raised to satisfy the need of the organizations that the Archdiocese was supporting.


After an Archdiocesan Council meeting in Denver, Colorado in 1984, George Chimples, treasurer of the Archdiocese, came up with a plan of finding one hundred Greek Orthodox individuals who would commit themselves to pay $10,000 annually and permanently to defray the deficits of the Archdiocese which were about a million dollars a year in those days. This was an unofficial discussion for ' another money raising plan after the meeting that was not on the agenda at that meeting. However, a few stewards, including me, during 1995, after the Denver meeting, donated $10,000 each to help His Eminence, but there were not many stewards that made that contribution that year. His Eminence Iakovos was unhappy with the results.

At the Archdiocesan Council meeting in January 10, 1986, which took place at Innisbrook in Tarpon Springs, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos arrived several days before that meeting on the occasion of the Epiphany Celebration, and I had the opportunity to have several private talks with him on the subject. In my discussions with His Eminence days before the Innisbrook Archdiocesan Council meeting, I explained to Him that while Mr. Chimples meant well, his Plan, unfortunately, was not going to fly. How many people would commit themselves to paying $10,000 per year indefinitely to defray the debts of the Archdiocese? Most of them would ask, "Why doesn't the Archdiocese operate within its own income, and why should we pay its debts?" That idea did not work well, as during 1985 very few contributed and His Eminence was concerned.

I stressed to His Eminence that the best solution to raise substantial funds would be to establish an endowment foundation for the Archdiocese. I explained to him that most private and state institutions, including religious and philanthropic, universities, hospitals, museums and libraries, had endowment foundations. When people donated their money, it would not be spent to pay debts but would he invested in perpetuity, and only the income coming from those funds could be used to subsidize the expenses of those institutions. I mentioned to His Eminence that great universities like Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Northwestern, and Stanford had endowment foundations amounting to billions of dollars. Even the University of Florida at that time had endowment funds totaling over $800 million, and that was a state institution, not a private one. I also stressed to him that if we established an endowment foundation of stewards to donate $10,000 for ten years instead of permanently, where people's money was not going to be spent to pay debts, but be invested permanently and only the income would be spent to subsidize the expenses of the Archdiocese, we would find not just one hundred but several hundreds, and some day thousands who would donate.

It took me two days to convince His Eminence of the merits of endowment foundations, because at that time he was not familiar with such foundations as he stated to me. The day before the meeting His Eminence was convinced that this was the only and best way to go. My wife, Anastasia, witnessed this entire discussion during the last private meeting on the subject with His Eminence in my home the day before the official meeting.

On January 10, 1986, a couple days after Epiphany, the Archdiocesan Council meeting took place at Innisbrook; the chairman, His Eminence Iakovos, said that there were two plans and two proposals regarding the economic health of the Archdiocese. Mr. Chimples got up first and explained to the council his proposal. Then, His Eminence asked me to come and submit my plan. After I explained my proposal for such an Endowment Foundation to the members of the Archdiocesan Council, the Chimples plan was ignored, and the council overwhelmingly made the decision to approve my proposal for the establishment of the endowment foundation with the blessings of His Eminence, the Archbishop. It was called the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Endowment Foundation — LEADERSHIP 100. Unfortunately, it appeared that Mr. Chimples felt hurt because his plan was completely ignored.

On that same afternoon after the above meeting of January 10, 1986, my wife and I gave a cocktail reception in our home in honor of His Eminence Iakovos to all members of the Archdiocesan Council and the National Philoptochos Council. In his letter of January IS, 1986, His Eminence states, "You opened very widely your beautiful home and your gentle hearts, and welcomed, with exceptional warmth, the members of the Archdiocesan Council and the National Philoptochos Council. and you graciously gave an unforgettable evening to more than one hundred sixty members." (translation from his letter in Greek).

Father George Papadeas is a former priest of the Archdiocesan Cathedral in New York City and the creator of the St. Paul's Church Complex in Long Island, New York. At the time of the above Archdiocesan Council Meeting, he was the pastor of St. Demetrios Church in Daytona, Florida. He participated in that council meeting at Innisbrook and he can verify the above facts.

In addition to Father Papadeas' testimony, I have in my possession a three-page handwritten letter of Vasilios Vasiliadis, retired and living in New Port Richey, Florida, near Tarpon Springs, who acted as the secretary of that meeting at Innisbrook verifying the above facts. Mr. Vasiliadis had served as Patriarch Athenagoras" secretary for twenty years in Constantinople and as secretary to Archbishop Iakovos in New York for another twenty years before his retirement in Florida. He was an archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Mr. Vasiliadis was a schoolmate of His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos at Halki's Theological School in Istanbul. Both Archbishop Iakovos and Patriarch Bartholomew were born and raised on the same island of Imvros as Mr. Vasiliadis, and knew them both since infancy. Mr. Vasiliadis was a brilliant student and a theologian but he got married to a beautiful and wonderful lady who did not like the idea of him joining the priesthood.


For years, we wrote our $10,000 checks to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Leadership 100, and the funds remained the property of the Archdiocese. After 1990, a small group of Archdiocesan officers fought hard for years to take the funds away from the Archdiocese, and put it in a separate corporation. Archbishop Iakovos resisted their efforts for years. However, at an Archdiocesan Council meeting a few months before Archbishop Iakovos' retirement in 1995, the Archdiocesan Council made the decision, with the approval of His Eminence Iakovos, who was in poor health at the time, to transfer the funds to a new corporation and take it away from Archdiocese ownership. | This took some time to do, as they had to get the approval of the IRS for a new nontaxable corporation, which was granted by the government after the arrival of the new Archbishop Spyridon. In spite of Archbishop Spyridon's too-late objections to that decision, he managed to get certain concessions to secure a number of rights for the archbishop, but still all management of the new corporation rested with its new officers and trustees.

In setting up the new corporation, they declared themselves the founders of the endowment foundation and named it Archbishop Iakovos Endowment Foundation-Leadership 100. I HAVE NO PROBLEM with the change in name because it was done to honor my friend, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos. The problem is that they ignored, erased and distorted the true history and the birthday of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Endowment Foundation-Leadership 100. In addition they named themselves the founders. I agree that they were the founders of the new corporation that took away the ownership from the Archdiocese endowment fund ­ Leadership 100, but they were not the original and true founders of that organization. Furthermore, they appointed themselves officers, took over the management and control of the finances of the Archdiocese to satisfy their power, prestige and recognition.

It is unfortunate that in spite of some growth in the Archbishop Iakovos Endowment Foundation-Leadership 100, the organization has become more of an elite and a social club. Based on the opinion of fund raising experts, the assets of this organization, which has been over twenty years in existence, are a small fraction of what they should be today. A few years ago a Greek-American professor and fundraiser for one of the most prestigious well-known universities in America, made the following statement to me, "This organization today, ought to be worth $500 million instead of a small fraction of that amount." And he added, "The money is there, but they do not know how to get it."

[ MICHAEL G. CANTONIS: My Ancestors & My Life
  October 2008 - Chapter: The Birth Of The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Endowment Foundation
  - Leadership 100
- pp. 276-282 ]