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PAA Foundation

PAA Chair--Kostas Katsohirakis,



The Pancretan Foundation is the fundraising arm of the Pancretan Association of America (PAA) and has been granted a 501-c (3) tax-exempt status by IRS, legally as an independent entity from the PAA. The two organizations however, have a symbiotic relationship. The Pancretan Foundation in accordance with its by-laws channels all donations received to one of the three (3) Endowments of the Pancretan Association, namely: Venizelion Scholarship, Cultural and Philanthropic, always in accordance with the wishes of the donors. The Pancretan Foundation is administered by a Board of Trustees, which are elected at the Biannual PAA Conventions. For the legal description of the PAA Foundation please see relevant document within the Pancretan Constitution and bylaws.


The Pancretan Association, which is the ultimate beneficiary of the Pancretan Foundation, is an umbrella organization of some 80 Cretan chapters across the US. It was formed back in 1929 by a group of visionary Cretans and its primary purpose was to serve the needs of the Cretan-Americans as well as mother Crete. Over 90 years since its founding, it has grown to be one of the most significant and active organizations in the United States. Not only has Pancretan Association served the Educational, Cultural and Philanthropic needs of its members, but it has also acted and continues to act as a good-will ambassador and bridge with mother Crete.


In order to achieve complete transparency and the appropriate fiduciary checks and balances, the Pancretan has put into place an Administrative system which guarantees that all of its operations are run smoothly and that the wishes of its donors are fully complied in strict accordance with the not-for profit code and regulations of the IRS. The PAA itself holds a 501-c (8) tax-exempt status. All funds of the PAA are administered and invested by the Investment Board, which is normally headed by a licensed money management professional.


Each of the irrevocable Trusts/Endowments of the Pancretan, specifically, Venizelion Scholarship, Cultural and Philanthropic, are each administered by a separate Board, who are elected at the PAA’s biennial Conventions.


All of the various Endowment Boards report to the Pancretan Association Directors and all of the Endowment Board Chairs are members of the PAA Board of Directors.


PAA Foundation Administration: The Pancretan Foundation is administered by a Board of Trustees, which are elected at the Biannual PAA Conventions for a two (2) year term, and consist of the following for the term of office:


Chairman:  Kostas Katsohirakis                         

Treasurer:   Elpida Votsis                    


PAA President:    Diane Kounalakis                    

PAA Board of Investments Chair:     John Russon    

PAA Philanthropic Endowment Chair   Evangelia Hobitakis

PAA Culture & Education Endowment Chair:  Andreas Batakis

PAA Venizelion Scholarship Trust Chair:   Sia Sooklaris





A. The Venizelion Scholarship Trust


The Venizelion Scholarship program was set up in the mid 1930's has distributed over one and half million dollars to students. Our members pay annual scholarship dues through their chapters and an Endowment Trust has been set up where generous members and friends contribute and have annual scholarships given in memory/honor of a loved one. To this date, there are more than 30 named Scholarships have been set up within the Venizelion Scholarship Trust, which award over $50,000 annually to Cretan-American college students in need who are members of our organization and meet the criteria established by the Scholarship Committee. The Venizelion Scholarship Endowment is an IRREVOCABLE TRUST, designed to exist in perpetuity. The Funds of the Trust are administered by the Pancretan Investment Board. 


B. The PAA Philanthropic Endowment (Pancretan Philantropic Endowment)


The mission of the Philanthropic Endowment Fund is to serve the PAA and the PYA in their philanthropic endeavors and offer “charitable giving or planning” opportunities to PAA members as an easy way to accomplish their charitable desires.


Specific decisions on Philanthropy are made both during the biannual PAA Convention where delegates bring specific projects for consideration, as well as by PAA’s Philanthropic Committee. All decisions and awards are made in strict confidence or as specific situations dictate. The Committee (which consists of an elected Chair, and 6 elected or appointed trustees) considers, recommends, develops or partners and educates the PAA membership in giving to worthy causes in Crete, Greece and the US.


The George Paterakis Philanthropic Endowment Fund: Specifically to the George Paterakis Philanthropic Endowment, all income generated shall stay at the PAA National Level. Annually, the Philanthropic Committee shall propose one or more specific projects with Philanthropic focus in Crete or the US, to the PAA Board of Directors for their approval. These specific Projects shall be executed within the calendar year and shall be named after the late benefactor George Paterakis and shall be appropriately profiled in the KPHTH magazine.



C.    The PAA Cultural and Endowment (Pancretan Cultural Endowment)


Purpose: The purpose of the Educational and Cultural Endowment Fund is to promote, encourage, sustain and develop programs and activities which promote the Hellenic and Cretan Culture, Thought, Language, and Traditions. The Cultural & Educational Endowment endeavors to achieve these noble objectives by advancing and promoting the culture, music, and traditions of the island of Crete via educational seminars, lectures, theatrical & musical performances, dance workshops and other cultural gatherings and events, both here in the United States and in Crete, as well as, via sponsorships for publication of books and electronic media, such as CD’s, DVD’s, etc.



Charitable & Legacy Giving


The Pancretan Association visionary leadership established the Pancretan Foundation to be used as a giving vehicle by many of our members, now and in the future. In the past, many donors, made significant donations of the Pancretan passing their values and heritage to future generations. For example, in 2015, we were graced with a large bequest by a long time member George Paterakis, who left nearly $2,000,000 in his will, in addition to the other significant sums he had contributed via the Foundation to the Pancretan Association during his lifetime!


The Pancretan Foundation can move boldly into the future with new supporters and donors and with more and more of the Pancretan members considering charitable gifts such as the following examples that can positively transform the causes we support:


· Bequests

· Charitable Remainder Trusts

· Charitable Gift Annuities

· Deferred Gift Annuities


Planned gifts at the Pancretan Foundation help ensure that the Pancretan Association will continue to serve future generations and allow donors to plan for their futures as well. For information on how you can contribute to our Legacy giving, contact our Foundation chair at



The PAA 300 Program


This program was established in 2012 to represents the 300 brave Cretans who sailed from Crete to Constantinople in 1453 to fight for the freedom of the legendary Byzantine Empire.


The PAA 300 Program was launched as a fundraising vehicle via the Pancretan Foundation to strengthen the Culture and Education, Philanthropic, and Scholarship funds to provide each with the resources to develop and implement programs for our members and deserving groups.


To become a member of The PAA 300 Club, an individual and chapter needs to commit making a $1,000 donation annually for 10 years. Your donation will be equally disbursed to the Cultural, Philanthropic, and Scholarship funds. There is also the option of completing your commitment in a single lump sum. By becoming a member of the PAA 300 Club, you will receive a special pin when you make your pledge. Once your commitment is met, you will receive a custom, one-of-a-kind gift to thank you for your support.


All pledged members will also be recognized in KPHTH Magazine, on our website, and at a special event held during our biennial conventions.


Thanks to the following PAA 300 Club members who have fulfilled their $10,000 donation


Evangeline Alpogianis
John and Kathryn Bertakis
John* and Peggy Kokolakis
John G and Elena Manos
Nikolaos* & Despina Verikakis
Epimenides-Ariadne Chapter, San Francisco
Amalthia Chapter, Chicago


For further information on including the Pancretan Foundation’s PAA 300 Program , please contact the Foundation chair at