Stavros Niarchos Foundation Donates $25 Million to Astoria’s St. Demetrios Day School

SNF co-President Andreas Dracopoulos and Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives Stelios Vasilakis programs discuss the advancement of the St. Demetrios Cathedral School with School officials.

ASTORIA – The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) has donated $25 million to the St. Demetrios Cathedral Day School in Astoria. This donation will secure the School’s longterm survival and allow it to advance to a state-of-the-art educational institution with a Hellenic and Orthodox identity.

On October 30, SNF co-President Andreas Dracopoulos and Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives Stelios Vasilakis visited the School, where they were warmly received by School Board President Nick Andtriotis, Principal Anastasios Koularmanis, Parish Council President Van Christakos, and St. Demetrios Presiding Priest Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Papazafiropoulos.

Video by TNH/Costas Bej

Dracopoulos and Vasilakis expressed satisfaction for the progress the School has made as discussed in previous meetings, and more was discussed regarding additional steps scheduled so that this, the largest donation in the history of Hellenic Paideia in the United States would be completed. Dracopoulos said “there are no hidden agendas. Here we all have a common purpose to advance the School of St. Demetrios.”

Koularmanis said “we shouldn’t miss this opportunity.”

The funds, which Dracopoulos described as “not a donation, but an investment,” will go to bolster infrastructure, operations, and faculty personnel. To date, the School received about $500,000 of the pledged donation, which was used for improving specific infrastructure, and improving computer technology.

SNF Program Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives Stelios Vasilakis, co-President Andreas Dracopoulos, St. Demetrios School Board President Nick Andriotis, V. Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, and Parish Council President Van Christakos.

To date, the School received about $500,000 of the pledged donation, which was used for improving specific infrastructure, and improving computer technology.

Dracopoulos told The National Herald that “the funding will be immediate in the very near future and of course it will include the establishment of a Fund. We believe that in the next few months the entire donation of $25 million will be completed. This auspicious development is due to the efforts of the Foundation, the community, the church, Nick Andriotis, Anastasios Koularmanis, and all who were involved.” Vasilakis characterized the progress as “impressive.”

He said “big steps were made and great efforts from the people involved.” He said careful viability studies were made that allowed SNF to proceed with its donation to ensure the School’s future is secured. He said that as “the School is advancing to another level, it doesn’t lose its Hellenic identity and character.”

SNF co-President Andreas Dracopoulos and Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives Stelios Vasilakis programs discuss the advancement of the St. Demetrios Cathedral School with School officials.

Koularmanis also noted that “the School remains Greek and it doesn’t lose its Greek-Orthodox character. He said “it wasn’t only Andreas Dracopoulos and Stelios Vasilakis, who believed in the School’s potential. Prior to them an independent company was hired and did a thorough study and its officials recognized the value of St. Demetrios. SNF’s donation guarantees that the School will remain open for many generations to come.”

Andriotis called the donation the “best gift” just in time for the school’s 40th graduation next year. He praised Dracopoulos’ vision for the School’s new age. “Mr. Dracopoulos played the most important role. He visited our School for the first time many years ago.. Since then, he showed his interest in a practical way, and today’s meeting produced the outcome that in a few days or weeks the process will be completed and the funds will be deposited to a proper organization that will manage the endowment fund.”

 

5 Comments

  1. Odd for all the articles about Astoria’s and New Yorks wealthy Greeks, the Grocery Empire Billionaire, All the greek organizations, Hellenic this and that, The Supreme Taco etc…yet have to get monies from a Greek philanthropic organization, that could have bought ambulances, built medical clinics, built a school…..Shame on all of you….To all those in greece suffering from austerity from hunger, from joblessness, homelessness, Great Job New York Hellenes…

  2. So wonderful to read that the unwavering commitment SNF made last year will soon become a reality…..we are all rejoicing and full of gratitude. Full speed ahead with all the changes and promotion that the school.needs to become, not just the only Greek American high school of the American Diaspora, but a top parochial school in this great City..
    Thank You to Mr. Dracopoulos for becoming the wind of our wings for generations of students, and thousands of parents.

  3. I think it’s disgraceful! It’s the Greek people in Greece who need it more for all the public, medical and educational services that are lacking!

    1. Actually the foundation has given a lot to Greece, and one foundation cannot solve all of Greece’s economic problems. It’s not their job to do that, and considering that the foundation has gone above and beyond to give back to Greece, I think it’s great that they continue to keep up their philanthropic work in Greece and abroad. It would be nice if more wealthy Greeks joined that endeavor. Also,the organization’s philanthropic mission is not restricted to Greece, but is a more of a pan-Hellenic vision, so giving money to a Greek parochial school here in the United States is adhering to the their mission, and that’s actually not disgraceful at all. They should be commended for having that much integrity.

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