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CommunityHellenic Hearts is a noteworthy nonprofit organization that helps Hellenes 

Hellenic Hearts is a noteworthy nonprofit organization that helps Hellenes 

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By Linda Karpontinis Drager, Special to the Hellenic News of America 
Hellenic Hearts’ mission began with donations that were requested in lieu of gifts for John Aivazoglou’s (President and Founder of the Hellenic Hearts) 50th birthday, 6 years ago. $25,000 was raised and Hellenic Hearts was born. Mr. Aivazoglou along with current Vice President Nick Karalis, Director of Scholarships Tim Vlassopoulos, and Board member Kostas Mikropoulos turned their dream into a reality.

Through Hellenic Hearts, many individuals and institutions are able to receive financial assistance and support on various fronts up to and including emergency financial aid, food, housing, funerals, educational scholarships, educational guidance programs, and support for undergraduate and graduate students. Every effort is made to identify, assist, and or pay within 48 hours of emergency situations. Hellenic Hearts is able to connect with those in need of assistance with the help of local priests, Philoptochos, and many Hellenic organizations such as the Pontian Society.

Due to Covid, they were delayed in raising funds for 2 years but that didn’t sway them from still giving assistance in emergency situations and mentoring via Zoom. After being on hold for 2 years Hellenic Hearts held its fourth Annual Golf and Gala event on June 6, 2022, and presented its first Philotimo award. They intend on continuing the Golf and Gala events annually in hopes of raising funds to assist as many people and institutions that are in need, as possible. Their mission is to reach and continue helping individuals involved in emergency situations and try and make a difference in our youth and in the Greek and Greek-American community as a whole. The next event for the Hellenic Hearts Gala is scheduled for June 4, 2023, at Ellis Preserve in Newtown Square and on June 5, 2023, at Hellenic Golf at Rolling Green Golf Club.

Some of the programs being supported this year with the estimated $100,000 raised are the Hellenic College/Holy Cross, Educational Guidance program, Hellenic University of Philadelphia scholarship program, GOARCH’s Ukraine Relief Fund, and scholarship donation to the Washington OXI Foundation. All of the remaining proceeds will fund emergency aid for the year. They intend to fund additional programs next year with the National Hellenic Society and some other worthy organizations.

Immediate aid will be distributed as follows:

a. $10,000 to Hellenic College/Holy Cross annually for married none tuition seminarians aid. (5 year commitment $50,000);

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b. $20,000 in the Hellenic Hearts Education guidance program;

c. $5,000 in the Hellenic University of Philadelphia scholarship program;

d. $5,000 Donation to the Archdiocese Ukraine relief fund established by Archbishop Elpidophoros to help the orphanages and our fellow orthodox people who are there suffering;

e. $2,000 scholarship to the Washington OXI Day Foundation organized by Mike Manatos (5-year commitment of $10,000)

At the event, the first Philotimo award was presented to Mr. Mike Manatos. When asked how the Philotimo Award Recipient was chosen Mr. Aivazoglou couldn’t express enough that Mike Manatos (who also runs the OXI Day Foundation) was the obvious choice for the first recipient of this award. “Mr. Mantos fits our beliefs in making a difference.”  His dedication to the Greek and Greek-American National Community is unwavering. I have known Mike for years and everyone who knows him knows what a caring person he is.”

Mr. Manatos was also able to give us a statement regarding his award. “It was a tremendous honor for me, and my family to receive Hellenic Heart’s first annual Philotimo award and to pay tribute to the remarkable work of this young non-profit. Philotimo is what this organization, its board, and its supporters are all about. Providing suffering Greek-Americans financial aid and other support and young Greek-Americans education to career guidance is true Philotimo that our national community should applaud, support, and emulate,” expressed Mike Manatos, President, Manatos & Manatos.

There are 13 generations of priests in Mr. Aivazogou’s family.  He was brought up being taught to help people in need and care about people. He was mostly influenced by his mother who was always sharing food and providing housing for people who were in need, it was inevitable that he would follow in their philanthropic footsteps. His daughter Rayna McCarthy, Hellenic Hearts’ Communication Director and Legal Assistant, who is also involved in mentoring and providing guidance to students said “words can’t describe my gratitude, I am so excited that we can continue to give back through the organization.”

Mr. Aivazoglou would like to thank, Tim Vlassopoulos for all of his efforts in the production of the event, Alexandra Bottos Economou, and Kelli Aivazoglou for preparation for the Gala and event coordination, and Michael Manatos and his family.

The Board members and their sponsors all share that driving force of making a difference in our community hopefully for years to come.

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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