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.
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.”
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.”