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June 2008

The Order of AHEPA

The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) is a leading association for the United States’ 1.4 million American citizens of Greek ancestry, and Philhellenes. Founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1922, AHEPA helped the Greek immigrant assimilate into American society and to combat the evils of bigotry and discrimination at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

Today, AHEPA prides itself on the concept of a family unit working together on a common mission. That mission, to promote the ideals of Hellenism, Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence through community service and volunteerism, is shared by all the affiliated organizations that comprise the AHEPA Family—the Daughters of Penelope, Sons of Pericles, and Maids of Athena. Combined, the AHEPA Family has contributed more than $1 billion to charitable, philanthropic, or educational endeavors over the course of its history.

Education: Key to Leadership

AHEPA’s commitment to education has been well documented throughout its history. The AHEPA Educational Foundation continues in its pursuit to develop new and more responsive ways to meet our mission by creating a better learning environment for the youth. The foundation provides scholarships on an international basis to a wide variety of students ranging from high school seniors, seminarians, and college and post-graduate students all of whom are looking to become tomorrow’s leaders. More than $4 million is endowed at local, state and national levels for scholarships. One notable recipient is ABC News’ Chief Washington Correspondent and Host of This Week George Stephanopoulos.

The preservation of Hellenic Studies programs on college campuses is an important issue and one tasked to the AHEPA Cultural Commission. Moreover, AHEPA successfully re-launched the successful Journey to Greece Program in 2006. The program works in cooperation with the University of Indianapolis-Athens Campus allowing college students to study courses in ancient and modern Greece for credit.

Our Grass Roots Network Has a Voice

Through a grass roots network, AHEPA communicates the positions of the American Hellenic Community to elected representatives at the federal, state, and local levels of government—as well as diplomatic officials. These positions are based upon our American heritage and ideals with the best interest of the United States in mind. When needed, AHEPA is able to mobilize its hundreds of chapters chartered in every major metropolitan city. Furthermore, AHEPA educates the community about policy issues through seminars and conferences featuring expert panelists from the U.S. government and prominent Think-Tank organizations. Also, AHEPA educates by keeping a watchful eye on legislators with a Congressional Scorecard. In addition, the Biennial Congressional Banquet honors representatives who are champions of Hellenic ideals and of the issues affecting the American Hellenic Community.

Philanthropy Is Our Pillar of Strength

Philanthropy and Volunteerism have been pillars of strength for AHEPA since its inception. From natural disaster relief to raising funds to eradicate life-threatening diseases to providing affordable housing to senior citizens, AHEPA is at the forefront of charitable giving. The AHEPA National Housing Program, the AHEPA Charitable Fund and the AHEPA Cooley’s Anemia Foundation are examples of vehicles through which AHEPA gives back to the community. AHEPA is the largest recipient of U.S. government-sponsored grants to provide housing to seniors in the United States. Yet this only scratches the surface. Countless community service programs are undertaken by AHEPA districts and chapters at the local level on a daily basis.

An Integrated Athletics Program

Like the ancient Greeks who fostered the Olympic spirit, we admire those who excel in competition. Our Athletic Program allows members to participate in Golf, Softball, Basketball, and Bowling Tournaments at regional and national levels. We recognize athletes at the high school, amateur and professional levels with scholarships, accolades, and in some cases, induction into the AHEPA Athletic Hall of Fame—the only one of its kind.

The Ideals of Ancient Greece Important to Us All

Ahepans are proud of the contributions the ancient Greeks gifted to Western Civilization. As Americans, we share many of those values: civic responsibility, philanthropy, education, family and individual excellence, and of course, democracy. This is the essence of our heritage. Therefore, it is not a coincidence that these are the core values that comprise our mission.

AHEPA serves as a vehicle through which American citizens of Greek heritage developed and emerged to become successful in every facet of society: government, business, education, and the arts. The fulfillment of this phenomenon illustrates the promise of the American Dream and symbolizes the hard work ethic of our immigrant forbearers who labored to achieve that Dream with the principles of Hellenism rooted deep in their hearts and souls.

For more information about AHEPA, or how to join, please visit www.ahepa.org

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