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AHEPA Gold Coast Chapter 456 Steps Up in Times of Crisis
It’s been a little over a few months now since NEO magazine reached out to John Levas, former president of Gold Coast Chapter 456, District 6 of AHEPA. John was A 32-year member of the organization and president of the chapter for 18 years. He expressed his enthusiasm and optimism for the future of the chapter under the leadership of then Vice President, Chris Pappas, who would grab the reigns as its new president and bring in new, fresh ideas to keep the chapter thriving. Now that Chris is president, we wanted to get his thoughts on what AHEPA means to him as an organization and his goals as its new president.
During this challenging time of health crisis, Gold Coast Chapter 456, District 6, may be facing certain fundraising challenges, but that doesn’t stop their mission to help, serve, and distribute charitable funds and alms to those in need. NEO spoke with Chris Pappas to get his perspective on his new role and how the covid crisis has impacted the Chapter’s mission.
Not much has changed, except with the postponement of the big annual golf fundraising tournament, which he was hoping would be bigger and greater this year. When it happens, how it happens, and if it happens is all dependent on the phases of re-opening and safe social distancing measures that continue to take place.
Chris is optimistic it will happen, but for now, with restaurants closed and sponsorships on hold, they have found other ways to fundraise and give back. They were able to donate funds that were substantially matched by the generous support of Nick Katopodis of North Shore Farms to healthcare providers and doctors. Over a span of two days, 250 sandwiches were donated each day to both North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn.
Chris’s goal as president of the chapter is to continue driving up membership numbers and networking opportunities. AHEPA is first, and foremost, a fraternal organization with chapters all over the world. This not only creates a support system among the members and the community served, but also creates an extended support system toward their charitable mission. Chris understands that “the demographic of ten years up or down, within the age range of 38 years old, has two priorities – career and family.” With that in mind, targeting families with limited time for membership during the covid crisis, has halted some of his efforts. He also knows that this situation is temporary, and as the phases of re-opening unfold, so too will the networking events again. Many were held, and were to be held, at local coffee houses and restaurants where a fee of $25 is charged. These events throughout the year provide an opportunity to foster relationships with local businesses, raise funds for the chapter, and continue engaging networking opportunities and the solicitation of new members.
As Gold Coast Chapter 456 continues to reimagine its fundraising events in the current “new normal”, another accomplishment that did not go undeterred, along with provisions to healthcare providers, was the awarding of scholarships to four Greek school students. Two students, a boy and a girl, were selected as recipients of $250 each from the Archangel Michael Church in Port Washington and the Resurrection Church in Brookville. Each student was also the recipient of an honorable plaque.
So the big question remains. Will the chapter still host its annual major golf event this year that was anticipated to double and triple their fundraising efforts? Will it host its annual Christmas party this winter, if it’s allowed only at fifty percent capacity? These questions will eventually be answered as phases surrounding re-opening continue to advance.
The chapter remains committed to continuing its fundraising efforts safely most importantly. In the interim, if we want to support the valuable work they do in the community, the big raffle that was to be held in conjunction with the Christmas party this year, may just be the big fundraising tool independently needed to bring in their target income goal.
If they can’t host a golf event, alternative outing, or Christmas party, why not a raffle for $50 a piece that gives you the opportunity to win a $5,000 shopping spree to the Americana Mall? “This idea was proposed as a main fundraising initiative, given the uncertainty surrounding the covid pandemic, by board member Perry Cyprus. Retail therapy will always have its place, before, during, and after a health crisis,” says Pappas. “And in true philotimo and philanthropic spirit, AHEPA will continue advancing Hellenism and aiding the community!” Even during challenging times, Gold Coast Chapter 456 continues to be an example of great leadership.