Remarks of George S. Tsandikos,
Chairman, Leadership 100
42nd Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Your Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Your Eminences Metropolitan Stephanos and Metropolitan Athenagoras, Your Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos, Revered Metropolitans, Your Graces, Reverend Clergy, Delegates and Friends:
As I stand before you, as Chairman of Leadership 100, I am reminded of my own upbringing as the son of an Orthodox priest in a family that was extended to the larger family of our Orthodox Church and Greek American Community. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios has reminded us of the significance of the family as the source of our identity in divine revelation as presented in the Holy Scriptures. This is indeed the environment for our spiritual growth as we respond to the Holy Gospel through the Sacraments, the Divine Liturgy and our philanthropia. I am privileged to take up this responsibility in helping to advance the mission of Leadership 100 in supporting the National Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Church in America and thereby advancing Orthodoxy and Hellenism, the Faith we hold in common and the Heritage we cherish.
Leadership 100 brings together exceptional individuals who are willing to recommit to this mission and to give of their time, talent and treasure as true and faithful stewards. This year we are celebrating our 30th Anniversary, three decades of service to the Church and to our Community.
Born from the vision of Archbishop Iakovos of Blessed Memory, and the ingenuity and commitment of our founding members, Leadership 100 was organized in 1984 as an endowment program with a membership structure, a unique combination that allows us to grow our precious resources while developing spiritually through fellowship, special events, relationships and friendships that have created an extended family.
In reinforcing one another, we daily learn the importance of our philanthropy and service. This has translated into the distribution of grants of more than $39 million with a portfolio of $86 million and total assets of more than $97 million. Membership has grown phenomenally to 940, our Leadership 100 Partners which represent the young professionals presently has 120 members. Leadership 100 has seeded and nurtured programs and projects that are now essential and indispensable parts of our Church and Community, including International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) and the Center for Family Care. Our major area of support has been our beloved Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology where we have provided over $16 million in scholarships, at $1 million per year, to assist young men preparing for the priesthood as well as additional support totaling another $3 million.
I, together with our beloved and dynamic Executive Director, Paulette Poulos, have made a concerted effort to reach out to our beloved clergy and presvyteres who serve the needs of our faithful and provide funding essential for their retreats and workshops. We have also given grants to assist clergy in the burden of their student loans and compensated for inadequate pensions for clergy with limited income.
Leadership 100 has also equipped our Archdiocese for the technological and communication challenges of the new century with an IT infrastructure and Internet Ministries. From the start we have supported the National Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, especially Youth and Young Adult Ministries, including significant funding through the Office of the Metropolitans that enabled youth to attend summer camps in the Direct Archdiocesan District and all the Metropolises. In addition, we have assisted in the funding for Home Mission parishes, Outreach and Evangelism; Marriage and Family Ministries, which includes the Office of Interfaith Marriage; Greek Education and Religious Education; and the Department of Archives.
Throughout our history, we have also responded in a timely manner to other critical ministries such as the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, to crises in our society and in the world, such as September 11, Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, and earthquakes and fires in Greece. We have remained flexible to provide this kind of support throughout the decades. Most recently, Leadership 100 has responded to the appeal of His Eminence and just approved a $1 million contribution for the building of the St. Nicholas National Shrine.
As a family of faith and friendship, we are secure in our calling as Orthodox Christians and dedicated stewards and look to our respected Hierarchs and clergy as our spiritual leaders and to our fellow faithful for love and support. What better note to ring true for all of us in Philadelphia, where we acknowledge the birth of freedom in the city of brotherly love.
In closing, I want to especially thank His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, our Spiritual Leader who has been an inspiration in our lives, for his paternal guidance over the past 15 years. I also want to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Metropolitans who have welcomed us and supported us in their respective Metropolises. May God bless you all! Thank you.