Stephen G. Yeonas
The Leadership 100 Annual General Assembly convened at the 25th
Anniversary Celebration Conference on February 6, 2009 in Puerto Rico, to hear reports of record growth in membership and continued success in raising new funds for grants despite the economic downturn.
Stephen G. Yeonas, Chairman of Leadership 100, told an estimated 340 members and their guests that membership has increased to a record 813 with 64 new members joining in 2008 and 374 members fulfilling their pledges of $100,000 each.
In reviewing the past year, the Chairman said: “We have had a very successful year despite the economic downturn and the future looks bright. We have reached 813 members in all with 64 new members in 2008 alone and managed to raise in excess of $1 million in special grant funds to allow our Endowment Fund to recover over 2009. There is no question in my mind that our ultimate goal of 1,000 members and $100 million in the Endowment Fund will be achieved before our 30th Anniversary. We are strivers and optimists by nature, faith and heritage and we will prevail!”
The General Assembly heard reports on membership, investments, finances, administration, nominations and communications. The highlights were reports from Charles H. Cotros, Chairman of the newly-formed Leadership 100 Grant Fund, who said that despite the economic downturn, $1,060,350 had been raised in cash and pledges from Leadership 100 members to continue support of scholarships for seminarians studying for the priesthood at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and from Michael Bapis, Chairman of Leadership 100 Partners, the young professionals and future leaders, who reported membership now standing at 74 with plans for an accelerated membership drive in spring of 2009.
In addition, Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico, Exarch of Central America and the Caribbean Islands, which includes Puerto Rico, greeted the conferees and reported on his ministries. Other reports were given by Anthony J. Limberakis, National Commander of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle and Rev. Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, President of Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology.
From its initial 100 members at its historic beginning, Leadership 100 now counts 813 memberships. Having surpassed its goal of 63 members in 2008, it has set a new goal of 70 members for 2009. Total grants since the inception of Leadership 100 will exceed $28 million in 2009. This is because Leadership 100, in response to the current economic crisis and its effect on its Endowment Fund, has raised in excess of $1 million for the special Leadership 100 Grant Fund, which was formed by the Executive Committee in October of 2008 to continue its grant program until such time as the earnings from the Endowment Fund allow the organization to resume grant distributions. Leadership 100 regulations restrict the organization from dipping below its “inviolate amount”, consisting of paid membership contributions. Annual grants derive from the return on those invested funds.
Paulette Poulos, Executive Director (Interim), presented a plaque on behalf of Rev. Fr. Nick Soteropoulos, President, Retired Clergy Association, to Chairman Stephen G. Yeonas and Leadership 100 “for recognizing the untiring services and valuable ministry offered by our retired Clergy to the Church and its faithful and heartfelt gratitude to you for coming forward to offer support to our Clergy and Presvyteras Benevolent Fund". Fr. Soteropoulos added, “ Please know Leadership 100 will always have a special place in the hearts of our Clergy and Presvyteras. May God bless you and the members of Leadership 100 as you continue your worthy service to His Holy Orthodox Church.”