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Leadership 100 22nd Conference – Interview: L100 Chairman Charles Cotros
Interview by Demetrios Rhompotis
What were the highlights of this convention?
This year was exciting because we came to the West Coast after being on the East Coast for two years. So by coming out here, although we had a diversified program, we had to put together a group of speakers that was associated with the film industry. And we had very successful, really outstanding people from the industry, like Jim Gianopulos, Alexander Payne and Nia Vardalos.
In a (long) sentence, what is the purpose of the conference?
We bring together friends who see each other very casually, very rarely, once a year and it gives us good time to talk about what happened during the year. And we also have a very serious part in our conference because we are a giving organization. We exist to promote and support the ministries of the Archdiocese. It’s an organization that has no agenda, we are not political, we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Greek-Americans willing to support our Church and over the years we have given over 35 million!
Can you know what happens to the money after it leaves the L100 account?
That’s a very good point, because last year we authorized expenses of $100,000 for a test pilot program in the Metropolis of Boston. The money never got distributed. We were embarrassed and we checked and found out that there was a breakdown in communication and the money had not been given. After that, we have a policy where every grant that we issue to the Archdiocese we want an accounting every ninety days. We cannot allow the money not going where it’s supposed to go. We are very transparent! We’ll be glad to show where every nickel is.
People often use the lack of accountability in many charities as a pretext not to give.
I share the same concern. I think throughout the years our people were not taught to give. My father taught me to give to my Church. He taught me to give to charity. In the ethnic communities in America, the most successful are the Jewish people, we all know that. The second most successful are the Greek people, so there is a whole lot of wealth in the Greek communities. We have got to find a way that we can crack into that block of money and release it so our churches can survive. For example the Archdiocese has a budget of $25 million a year. Just one church in Houston, Texas, has a $50 million budget. We’ve got to find a way for our Greek people to give more to Greek churches, charities and issues.
Your priorities during the 2nd and last year of you term as chairman?
The goal is by the end of my term, in February 2014, to have 1000 members. Right now we are at 902. We had a great recruiting this year, but I want to further that and bring in more than 90 members in 2013. Second goal is to recruit young people. We have a great Partners Program where we have young adults, because that’s the future of our organization.