Dear Members and Friends,
As you all have been made aware through the media over the last two months the Greek Community of Toronto (GCT) is facing a financial crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. With the churches closed, and no fundraising activities for the last 12 months the sources of income have dried up to a “trickle”. It is assumed that this pandemic may last another 12 months before things go back to normal and the Community may be unable to meet its financial obligations. Even with no activities the monthly expenses are approximately $ 170,000 per month which includes in addition to the payment of the mortgage to the bank, the insurance, the utilities (heating, electricity, water), salaries, the cultural programs, the schools, the maintenance of the buildings, etc.
The GCT Board along with an Advisory Committee has explored all options to deal with this crisis and has concluded that it may require to sell at least one of the churches. It is noteworthy, that prior to the pandemic the GCT was able to pay all its monthly operating expenses and service its loan with the income it received. It was anticipated that for year 2020 we would have made a small profit.
As a result of bad and ambitious planning from previous Administrations the present Board inherited a debt of $13 million dollars and managed to lower to $3.2 million by selling all the non-church properties and keeping all the programs intact. The rest of the $1.2 million current outstandingdebt includes, amongst other liabilities, an accrual for the salaries of the priests. Needless to say, that the $600 sacrament fees (for weddings, baptisms etc.) go directly to the Archdiocese. The GCT does not keep anything.
The fees that the Archdiocese collected far exceed the annual fees that the GCT should be paying. Several attempts for the last four years to negotiate a settlement with the Archdiocese failed and we hope a court decision in the next few months will resolve the issue.
Many sectors of our Greek community, i.e. the Greek Associations, businesses, business associations & professionals (doctors. Lawyers, dentists, teachers etc.), as well as our ordinary members are responding to this crisis to save the GCT and all the four churches by helping us in our fundraising efforts. No amount donated is small.
This effort has the specific goal of raising $1.5 million or more in the next 6-9 months in order to allow GCT to get back on its feet. We are hoping, at the end of this period we will have come out of the pandemic and the sources of income will be flowing again to allow the GCT to return to normal.
However, we who are leading the effort to assist the GCT are standing united in the belief that NO CHURCHES WILL BE SOLD unless the Fundraising is not successful, and the Board receives approval from its membership that we must sell one of them in order to survive and save the rest. To this the Board of directors of the GCT will “not accept” all actions related to the sale of one of the churches during the fundraising period.
All of us that have lived in the Toronto area have, at one time or another, worshipped and had weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc., in all the four churches owned by the GCT. The GCT for the last 112 years offered and continuous to offer to our Community Greek Language programs, cultural programs, Social Programs and have presented our National interests to the Canadian Government. They are all part of our Greek identity and thus must remain as such. Many of our second-generation professionals have gone through the GCT ‘s programs. The GCT is owned by its members and as such it is operated by volunteers through a democratic process and transparency.
We therefore ask you, in these difficult times, to reach deep into your heart and pockets and donate, whatever you can to this noble cause. This year we are celebrating the Bicentennial of our Independence, a struggle that threatened our very existence as a people. But we came out victorious! In the memory of this noble struggle let’s come together and be victorious again!
Please find below the different ways you can donate:
- Through the GCT website at http://www.greekcommunity.org/Give.aspx
- By Electronic Transfer to the Greek Community of Toronto using the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please make sure to indicate your name and address so you can receive your tax receipt.
- By cheque payable to the Greek Community of Toronto
Mailing address: 30 Thorncliffe Park Dr., Toronto, ON, M4H 1H8
- By credit card over the phone at 416-425-2485
Official receipts for tax purposes will be provided for all donations over $25.
Thank you in advance for your support.
Dr. Anastasios Karantonis
Chair of the Independent Fundraising Committee