BALTIMORE, MD – Two family foundations, the George and Judy Marcus Foundation and the Jaharis Family Foundation, have together provided International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) with a six-figure matching challenge grant to support IOCC’s long-term response to the summer’s wildfires in Greece.
In summer 2021, wildfires raged across Evia, Attica, and the Peloponnese in Greece, destroying homes, businesses, and livelihoods as about 300,000 acres burned. Evia, Greece’s second-largest island, was especially hard hit, with one-third of its forests burned, including valuable pine trees—the basis of traditional beekeeping, honey, and resin-collecting industries.
With the Marcuses providing the lead gift of $300,000 through the George and Judy Marcus Family Foundation, Mr. Marcus encouraged IOCC to multiply proceeds to help more people. In addition, the Jaharis Family Foundation committed another $85,000, creating a total matching gift challenge fund of $385,000. To meet the vast needs in fire-ravaged regions, the Marcus and Jaharis Foundations are working with IOCC to urge others to support recovery efforts.
“We’re incredibly grateful for the help of both these foundations throughout the years,” said Constantine Triantafilou, IOCC’s Executive Director and CEO. “Without these stalwart supporters, IOCC could not make the impact needed for the communities now dealing with the fires’ devastation.”
Through these tremendous gifts, along with the existing support of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, IOCC is already on the ground in Greece, leveraging its extensive experience providing both emergency response and long-term development aid. IOCC is committed to long-term programming to help families and communities rebuild homes, businesses, and livelihoods—especially helping small-holder farmers and microbusinesses. Response began with IOCC’s on-the-ground needs assessments, which the team used to custom design short- and long-term assistance in affected areas. Programming started immediately in the municipality of Ileia, in the western Peloponnese, an area that also saw widespread fires in 2007. Emergency response supported educational needs and basic necessities for families.
IOCC’s assessment also determined that long-term needs were equally important, especially on Evia. Because that region’s economy depends on agricultural industries producing honey and resin, recovery will be long as the pine tree stands are slowly reestablished. Over time, IOCC will assist the fire-affected population in restoring their honey and resin businesses. In addition, programs will support fire-affected livestock farmers with animal feed.
As this work is projected to continue in the coming months and years, the Marcus and Jaharis Foundations are exhorting IOCC supporters to join them in helping communities in Greece reestablish their livelihoods. Donations may be made online: iocc.org/greecefiresmatch22 or by phone: 877-803-4622.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is the humanitarian relief and development agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has provided more than $742 million in humanitarian relief and sustainable development programs in over 60 countries worldwide. Today, IOCC applies its expertise in humanitarian response to natural and manmade crises in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, offering assistance based solely on need.
Learn more at iocc.org and follow @IOCCRelief on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.