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Pancretan Association: Fundraising Efforts for Greece’s Wildfires a “Complete Success”

February 15, 2008 Demetris Tsakas

NEW YORK – The Pancretan Association of America (PAA) has good reason to be proud, its President Emmanuel Velivasakis told The National Herald, and called his organization’s fundraising efforts to aid in the restoration of the areas stricken in last summer’s deadly wildfires that ravaged Greece a complete success. The PAA’s Board of Directors recently announced their decision regarding the allocation of the proceeds they collected following a tally of the total funds they raised through their campaign. “The $133,000 already collected to date was placed in an escrow account, and as soon as we receive an official response from the Prefecture of Ilia and the Municipality of Gortynia in the Prefecture of Arcadia we will disburse these funds accordingly,” Mr. Velivasakis said.
According to the President of the PAA, these funds were raised through the collective efforts of all 85 of his organization’s chapters. “These proceeds are the product of a nationwide fund drive. All our members, young and old, contributed greatly and helped raise this impressive amount. I am especially pleased to see Cretans proving yet again that they recognize what their responsibilities are and take them seriously. It did not take much to get these donations to start pouring in. We called upon our fellow Cretans for support through our Association’s magazine “KPHTH,” phone calls and e-mails, and we are more than satisfied with the results,” Mr. Velivasakis said, while expressing his hope that the final figure will reach $140,000.

He also stated that he was happy about the fact that the funds would not simply be used to cover the everyday needs of the fire victims, but would instead be allocated to invest in and support the future development of the fire stricken area. In a press release issued by Mr. Velivasakis and PAA Fundraising Chairman Lefteris Dramindinos, there is a detailed explanation presenting on the way that the allocation of the funds would take place and the reason behind this decision. The press release mentions that the PAA Board of Directors remained faithful to their initial position that it would be better for proceeds to be used to finance long term projects instead of merely covering the fire victims’ everyday expenses. The press release also states that “As the old saying goes, ‘give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.’”
Additionally, it was reported that the Fundraising Committee and the PAA Executive Board reviewed all the proposals and decided to support the resolutions passed at the last Board of Directors meeting, which was held in Modesto, Calif. The biggest chunk of the proceeds will be used to fund a lab specializing in soil, water and landscape testing, which will be set up in the fire-stricken Prefecture of Ilia.
The proposal for this lab was made by the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and its cost is estimated at $122,000. The PAA will contribute $75,000 towards this project, and as the main project sponsor, the lab will be named after the Pancretan Association of America. “We are hopeful that by next summer the Pancretan Association of America will be sending a delegation to Ilia to celebrate the opening of this lab,” the PAA states in its press release.
Due to the need for fire trucks in the Arcadian Province of Gortynia, the PAA also decided to contribute $30,000 towards the purchase of a small 4×4 fire truck, which will be named in honor of the Pancretan Association as well. The PAA made detailed reference to the special ties that exist between Gortynia and Crete, and the recent union between the city of Gortyna in southwest Crete and the Arcadian province of Gortynia, which became sister cities.
Mr. Velivasakis noted that the PAA is awaiting municipal approval to send over the funds for the purchase of this fire truck, which is to be made directly by the local government in Gortynia.
The PAA will send the remaining $28,000 to support the Plant Your Roots in Greece Foundation. As previously reported by TNH, this foundation has performed reforestation projects throughout Greece, in areas like Crete, the Peloponnese, Macedonia, Thrace, and is currently working in Penteli, Parnitha, Taygetos, Olympia and Euboea.
“We asked this foundation to prepare a special reforestation program in the fire stricken areas that will bear the name of the Pancretan Association of America,” Mr. Velivasakis said, and reported that these funds are already in the process of being sent.

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