SAN FRANCISCO – The Daughters of Penelope (DOP), part of the AHEPA family of philanthropic organizations, are celebrating their 90th anniversary this year. On November 16, the very first chapter of the organization, EOS #1, hosted a luncheon in San Francisco, the city where the DOP was founded on November 16, 1929.
DOP Grand President Celia Kachmarski told The National Herald, “Today, we celebrate where it all began, in San Francisco with the Sisters of EOS #1, and all the sisters who have joined us for this splendid 90th anniversary celebration. I want to thank the many Past Grand Presidents for their leadership over the past nine decades and to the thousands of sisters who have tirelessly worked to promote our programs in place now and in the past. Often times our leaders our ordinary people with extraordinary determination. We have walked a path few others have walked. We have built a sisterhood based on love, compassion, empathy, need and mutual understanding. We have built lasting friendships.
“Our founder Alexandra Apostolides’ vision will always be a guide. As the architect of the Daughters of Penelope she left us a blueprint to follow, to be philanthropic, to be civically responsible, to educate the youth, to strive for personal excellence, and to promote our Hellenism and remember our roots.”
The DOP was the realization of Apostolides’ dream. Her desire was to create a woman’s organization and because of her perseverance and the encouragement of her husband Dr. Emanuel Apostolides, a devoted member of AHEPA, she formed EOS Chapter #1 with 25 charter members on November 16, 1929 in San Francisco. She was elected the first Grand President of the organization in 1931.
The DOP’s commitment to education has been well documented throughout its history. The Daughters of Penelope Foundation, Inc. continues in its pursuit to develop new and more responsive ways to meet our community’s responsibility in creating a better learning environment for our children. It provides scholarships on an international basis to a wide variety of students. Recipients are high school seniors, college and post-graduate students all looking to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Through its members, the DOP communicates to elected representatives at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as diplomatic leaders, the positions of the Greek-American community on issues of concern to it. These positions are based upon our American heritage and ideals with the best interest of the United States in mind. The DOP educates its members about these issues through seminars and conferences, providing expert panelists from the U.S. Administration and from well-respected Washington Think Tanks. The DOP is able to mobilize over 300 chapters (chartered in every metropolitan city) which truly makes it a unique organization.
Philanthropy and volunteerism have been pillars throughout the country for the DOP over its many years of existence. From natural disaster relief, to raising funds to eliminate life threatening diseases, to making significant contributions to our local municipalities, the DOP is at the forefront of charitable giving. Yet, this only scratches the surface of the numerous philanthropic works of the association. Countless philanthropic projects are also undertaken by DOP chapters and districts and eventually become national projects.
It is also our civic responsibility to provide affordable housing to senior citizens. The AHEPA Housing Corporation has been awarded over $400 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The total number of senior housing complexes stands at 91, with 4,753 units complete, and more in development.
The DOP recognize female athletes at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels with scholarships, accolades and in some cases, induction into our Athletic Hall of Fame.
Throughout the span of its history, the DOP has served as a vital vehicle for the progressive development and emergence of many American citizens of Greek heritage into every facet of society: government, business, education, and the arts. This fulfillment illustrates the promise of the American Dream and symbolizes the hard work ethic of our immigrant forbearers who labored to achieve that dream with the principles of Hellenism rooted deep in their hearts.
More information about the Daughters of Penelope is available online: https://www.daughtersofpenelope.org.