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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.

For information purposes, 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. Eighty Five (85) years since its founding, it has grown to be one of the most significant and active organizations of the US Omogenia. 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 its 90 years of existence, the PAA has managed to make history of which we are really proud. This includes: assistance during the Second World War, dowry for hundreds of Cretan brides orphaned after the War, but also the erection of the Venizelion Hospital in Heraklion, and new wings for the hospitals in Rethymno and Chania. The PAA has provided financial support for a number of other initiatives, some of which are: the University Press of the University of Crete (Crete University Press), the Botanical Park at the Crete Polytechnic in Akrotiri Chania, and the DIAS University Summer Courses at the Universities of Crete, for students from abroad, in Rethymno and Chania. Most importantly however, over the past 85 years, the through the establishment of the Venizelion Scholarship Endowment, it has invested heavily in its Youth, by having awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars scholarships to thousands of our young members to enable them to complete their university studies and now they are now members of a dynamic group of young professionals, integrated in the wide fabric of the American Society. And the great thing is that the vast majority of these young men and women remain completely dedicated to the Hellenic Ideals of their parents and to the cultural heritage of their forefathers.

In order to achieve complete transparency and the appropriate fiduciary checks and balances, over the years, the Pancretan has put into place an Administrative system which guarantees that all of its operations are above board and that the wishes of its donors and fully complied always 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.

In brief and for information purposes only, the Pancretan Administrative System functions as follows:

The Pancretan Association is administered by a Board of Directors elected at the biannual Conventions.
All fundraising is performed via the Pancretan Foundation, a brief description of its structure and purpose of which are given below.

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 are reporting to the Pancretan Association Directors and all of the Endowment Board Chairs are members of the PAA Board of Directors.

The office of the Auditor General is administered by an elected/appointed Chairman who according to the PAA by-laws must be a CPA, and who has complete authority to audit all financial and administrative operations of the PAA, its Boards and Endowments.

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 2019-2021 term of office:


Chairman:                                                        Chris Stavrou
Treasurer:                                                         Debbie Nikokavouras
Trustees:    Currently Vacant
PAA President:                                                 Eleftherios Dramitinos
PAA Board of Investments Chair:                  John G. Russon, CFA
PAA Philanthropic Endowment Chair           Evangeline Alpogiannis
PAA Culture & Education Endowment Chair:  TBD
PAA Venizelion Scholarship Trust Chair:      Sophia Papasifakis Masters



A brief description of each of the three beneficiary trust Funds of the Pancretan (PAA) Foundation follows:

A.  The Venizelion Scholarship Trust

The Venizelion Scholarship program was set up in the mid 1930's has distributed over $1,500,000.  In scholarships to over 1250 deserving American-Cretan students to help them get a college education and a chance for a better life. To fund this Trust our members pay annual scholarship dues through their chapters. Also, an Endowment Trust has been set up where generous members and friends can contribute and have annual scholarships given in memory of a loved one. To this date, there are more than 20 named Scholarships have been set up within the Venizelion Scholarship Trust, which award some $50,000 annually to Cretan-American college students in need. 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.

Over the years, the PAA has offered assistance during the Second World War in Crete and provided dowries for hundreds of Cretan brides orphaned after the War.  Our work with hospitals began decades ago with the erection of the Venizelion Hospital in Heraklion, and new wings for the hospitals in Rethymno and Chania.

Over the years, along with the Pancretan Youth, the organization has raised funds to benefit children suffering from Cooley’s anemia in Crete and has held fundraisers for orphanages in all four prefectures of Crete. During the 2007 devastating wild fires in Greece, the PAA raised significant amounts of money, which was used to purchase a Fire truck for the District of Elea in Peloponnese. Furthermore in cooperation with IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) organization we established an Agricultural Soil Testing Laboratory in Peloponnese to assist the local farming population to re-evaluate and prepare their fields and oil groves prior to replanting. During the severe financial crisis of 2009-2015, the Pancretan Association again went into action and raised very significant funds for many children institutions in Crete. The PAA once again cooperated with IOCC and arranged for at least 4 large containers of medical supplies to be shipped and distributed to all hospitals and other smaller medical facilities of the island. In 2015 2 or more additional containers with Medical supplies were sent to the Cretan hospitals as well.

Needless to say that also locally and within its ranks, many at times, and whenever situation arises, the PAA still to this date offers anonymous assistance to many of its less fortunate members and non-members alike, when they are struck by misfortune of illness. For obvious reasons we do not wish to go into specifics with regard to this endeavor, but can state that the total philanthropic amount comes to many tens of thousands of dollars over the years.  One thing can be said for sure that the PAA has touched the lives of people all over the world, offering compassion, financial assistance and philanthropy wherever needed.

Operations: 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, see PAA Bylaws for specifics…) 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.


Historical Info: The Pancretan has placed over the years a great deal of effort, fiscal and human investment for the Preservation of the Cretan and Hellenic culture and traditions, which have remained strong here in the new world among the Cretan-American Community throughout the US and Canada. Traditionally, the PAA Organized and supported dance groups, both in the local and national levels. Teaching our Youth the Cretan and other  Greek dances and Musical sounds, and in some cases even held classes at local levels in teaching various traditional musical instruments to those interested in learning how to play them. Famous musicians were often invited form Crete to play during PAA Conventions and also at the local level, spreading the sounds of Crete to a thirty membership yearning to remember its roots and musical traditions.


With the advent of the advanced electronic era, the PAA started producing and distributing CD’s and DVD’s to its members since the early 2000’s. More than 2 dozen CD’s and DVD’s have already been distributed to the entire membership and may of those “gifts” are still valued and utilized by our members. Theatrical Groups were also brought from Crete, to put up theatrical productions with popular themes. The subject of the famous Cretan Diet, which is a very important segment of the Cretan Culture and folklore, was brought to the US in the form of Seminars, Printed materials, symposia and culinary events, which proved to be extremely popular in many cities around the United States. In the winter of 2013, during a round of Celebrations for the 100th Anniversary of the Union of Crete with mother Greece, one such symposium was held in the United Nations, with huge international attendance and speakers form both Crete and many US Universities. All in all, Culture and Heritage is a very big part of PAA’s mission and activities and will continue to be for the future.

 Each District’s local Education and Cultural Committee shall notify the respective chapters of their district and call for applications for Cultural Projects from individual chapters within 120 days of the last national Convention.  In the event a Chapter does not file and application within the 120 day period, their per-capita share will be redistributed to the chapters who made application based on their own per-capita. In the event the approved chapter Cultural plan is not implemented within the specified time span, the funds will be returned in full to the district for redistribution to those chapters who have approved plans on a per-capita basis.


The bulk of the fundraising of the Pancretan Foundation has been a targeted one indeed. Foundations Trustees approach esteemed members of our community and explain to the noble purposes and mission of the Foundation and the three (3) Endowments it feeds its proceeds to.  This is done on an individual level or via appropriate presentations during biennial PAA Conventions or even via targeted mail campaigns. In addition, the Foundation Trustees are undertaking a sustained effort to educate our membership on charitable giving, as well as on 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.  In 2015, we were graced with a large bequest by a long time member George Paterakis, who left us 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!


Charitable & Legacy Giving

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.


Here is an example:

Violet Velvetakis is currently 78 years old (name is fictitious) and fist joined the Pancretan Youth during her teenage years. She even received some scholarships for the Venizelion Scholarship Trust to attend college, and also during her college years, she enjoyed dancing with the dance troops of the PYA and her local chapter.

After a lifetime of hard work and after raising her family, she wanted to make an additional gift to the Pancretan Venizelion Trust Fund so that she could enable her grandchildren to enjoy some of the same benefits she had enjoyed during her lifetime as a member of the Pancretan. She established a charitable gift annuity with $30,000 cash and enjoys some of the benefits she receives in return, including:


· A lifetime of fixed payments at 6.5% ($2,040 annually), part of which is tax-free.

· A Federal income tax charitable deduction of $14,724, which can be carried forward for 5 years.

· The satisfaction of knowing that she made more substantial gift to the Pancretan than she thought possible in her lifetime.


The Pancretan Foundation Gift Annuity – Single Life*

 Age:        65              71          77        81        83        85        88        90 and over

Rate %:   4.7             5.3         6.2       7.0       7.4       7.8       8.4       9.0

 Had she not decided to go with the Gift Annuity, she could also have done one of the following:
· Name the Pancretan Foundation as a beneficiary of an Insurance or retirement plan by filing a form
· Include the Pancretan Foundation as beneficiary of the residuary of her estate so that specific gifts she planned for her family and friends would be unchanged.

*note: the above example is for illustrative purposes only.


The PAA 300 Program

This program 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 in 2012 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 one 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.

Pledge forms are available on the Pancretan website. We at the Pancretan Foundation are also able to email the forms and are also available to answer any questions or for additional information.

List of the PAA 300 Club current Members

Evangeline Alpogiannis
John & Kathrin Bertakis
James & Mia Boutzoukas
Anna Giannoulias
Nikolaos Kapelonis
Pagona Kokolakis
Mary Liviakis In Memory of Irene Tsourounakis Mazacoufa
John & Elena Manos
Theodore & Rema Manousakis
John Marakis
Panagiotis & Julie Rodamis
John & Vickie Sargetis
Ethel Stamatakis
Kostas & Donna Tsikakis
Joanne Vasilomanolakis-Lagos
Emmanuel & Orsa Velivasakis
Nikolaos & Despina Verikakis
Nick & Kimberly Vlahakis
Cretan Ladies Association of Amalthia
Epimenides/Ariadne San Francisco Cretan Chapter

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