Promoting Hellenism Since 1922
For nearly a 100 years, the mission of AHEPA is to promote the ancient Hellenic ideals of education, philanthropy, civic responsibility, family and individual excellence through community service and volunteerism.
The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) is the largest and oldest American-based, Greek heritage grassroots membership organization. Its scope is international with chapters around the world. AHEPA was founded on July 26, 1922 in response to the evils of bigotry and racism that emerged in early 20th century American society. It also helped Greek immigrants assimilate into society.
Today, AHEPA brings the ideals of ancient Greece, which includes philanthropy, education, civic responsibility, and family and individual excellence to the community. Although a majority of the membership is composed of Americans of Greek descent, application for membership is open to anyone who believes in the mission of the organization.
The Ideals of Hellenism Important to All
AHEPA members are proud of the contributions the ancient Greeks gifted to Western Civilization. As Americans, we share many of the values put forth by them: civic responsibility, philanthropy, education, family and individual excellence, and the ideals of democracy. This is the essence of our heritage. This is the core of our mission.
Moreover, throughout the span of its history, AHEPA has served as a vital vehicle for the progressive development and emergence of American citizens of Greek heritage into every facet of society: government, business, education, and the arts. This fulfillment illustrates the promise of the American Dream and symbolizes the hard work ethic of our immigrant forbearers who labored to achieve that dream with the principles of Hellenism rooted deep in their hearts.
What is Hel•len•ism?
The emulation of ancient Greek culture, civilization, principles and ideals, including humanism, reason, the pursuit of knowledge, the arts, moderation and civic responsibility. An important component of AHEPA's mission is to create an awareness of the principles of Hellenism to society. These principles include a commitment to humanity, freedom, and democracy. The preservation and promotion of these ideals is where AHEPA has, and always will be, deeply committed. AHEPA educates the community on these matters through symposia, forums, and conferences.
AHEPA's commitment to education has been well documented throughout its history. Millions of dollars have been endowed at the local, district and national levels toward the use of scholarships and a half-million dollars is awarded annually. Thousands of young men and women have benefited as recipients of AHEPA scholarships at these various levels. The most famous recipient, perhaps, is ABC News', George Stephanopoulos.
The scholarship program at the national level is administered by the AHEPA National Educational Foundation. It offers scholarships to a wide variety of students. Recipients are: traditional and non-traditional students; seminarians, including those entering Holy Cross School of Theology; and high school seniors, college and post-graduate students who are looking to become tomorrow's leaders.
The preservation of Hellenic or Classical Studies programs on college campuses is an important issue for the AHEPA Educational Foundation. A subcommittee of the Foundation, the Hellenic Cultural Commission, actively works to support the study of the Classics at universities.
In addition, educational programs such as "Journey to Greece" and Washington internships are sponsored by the Foundation.
Philanthropy and volunteerism have been pillars of strength for AHEPA. From natural disaster relief to raising funds for the elimination of life-threatening diseases to making significant contributions to their local neighborhoods, AHEPA is at the forefront of charitable giving.
AHEPA's philanthropic deeds are evident in the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island; in the Halls of St. Basil Academy, a childcare facility in Garrison, N.Y.; in the care packages sent to the troops in cooperation with the USO; and in the building of healthcare facilities in Greece. Yet this only scratches the surface of the numerous philanthropic works of the association. In addition, countless charitable projects are undertaken every year by AHEPA's chapters and districts.
AHEPA grassroots has a strong voice. With chapters in every major metropolitan city and in rural areas of North America, AHEPA communicates the positions of the Greek-American community to elected representatives at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as to diplomatic leaders. These issues pertain to Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey; however, AHEPA constituents are also interested in domestic policy areas affecting the philanthropic, civic, and community service-based programs in which they are involved. These positions are based upon the American heritage and ideals with the best interest of the United States in mind.
AHEPA educates its constituents about these issues through seminars and conferences, providing expert panelists from the U.S. government, Washington, D.C., think-tank organizations, and the business world.
Furthermore, AHEPA keeps a watchful eye on Congress with its Congressional Scorecard, a tool that evaluates each member of Congress on Hellenic issues.
Family and individual excellence
What makes AHEPA unique from other organizations is the creation of the AHEPA Family. Together with three affiliated organizations, the AHEPA Family works as a unit toward the fulfillment of a common mission. Combined, the four organizations have contributed well over a billion dollars to national projects throughout their history.
Its affiliate women's organization, the Daughters of Penelope, was founded in 1929. It supports two youth groups, the Sons of Pericles (established in 1926) and the Maids of Athena (1930).
The Daughters of Penelope was established November 16, 1929, as the Women's Affiliate of AHEPA. It is the first Greek-American women's organization in the United States. One of its crowning achievements is Penelope House, a shelter for battered women in Mobile, Alabama. It is the first shelter for battered women and their children in that state.
The Sons of Pericles was established February 3, 1926, and was officially recognized as the Junior Order of AHEPA in 1928. Finally, the Maids of Athena was founded July 5, 1930, as the Junior Women's Auxiliary of AHEPA. The two youth groups have combined to contribute to such worthy causes as: Muscular dystrophy, Deborah Heart and Lung Foundation, the Special Olympics, St. Basil Academy and Cooley's anemia research.
Since our founding in Hackensack on August 27, 1931, the AHEPA Bergen Knights' has focused on philanthropic endeavors contributing both locally in Bergen County, New Jersey and around the world. Today, our chapter is based in Tenafly, New Jersey but our history of commitment to philanthropy and volunteerism has not changed.
The AHEPA Bergen Knights have supported a multitude of charitable organizations and foundations both locally in Bergen County and around the world. Most recently, our chapter has supported Alex's Lemonade Stand for Childhood Cancer Research, AHEPA 5th District Cancer Research Foundation & AHEPA Service Dogs for Warriors.
The AHEPA Bergen Knights have served philanthropic interests for over 85 years. We plan a variety of professional events to promote your business and support our charitable causes. With you by our side, we’re sure to achieve our fundraising goals. If interested in being an event sponsor, please reach out to us. We can’t wait to hear back!