BOD Meeting: October 2020
On Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 7 pm, the monthly meeting of the members of the Board of Directors of HCGM took place in the presence of the Media. In line with measures to protect against the coronavirus’s spread, the meeting took place online on the Zoom platform as we have done in past months.
After the establishment of a quorum and prayer, the President of the Community, Mr. Andreas Crilis, made reference to the correspondence of the month and the replies that were sent by email.
In his report, the HCGM President Andy Crilis spoke positively about the efforts being undertaken in all areas of HCGM to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He spoke about the cases of COVID-19 that have occurred at two campuses. Despite the precautions we take, we cannot be 100% protected from this pandemic, but the administration, teachers and cleaning staff are doing their best to keep everyone safe. Fortunately, almost all the children and teachers have returned to their classes after the quarantine period.
The President then announced that the Strategic Real Estate Analysis being conducted by the Transactional Advisory Group of EY is nearing completion and will be sent to the HCGM soon. It will be presented to the Board of Directors so that we can discuss its findings. He also announced that the 2nd floor of our building on Houde in Ville St. Laurent that the lease with Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys has been renewed with an additional one year option to further renew the lease. The annual rental is $126,800. The President shared with the Board that the Grande Salle at the Community Center will remain closed until further notice. The water damage from the roof has become serious and must be repaired. He stressed that at the moment, there is no money to make the necessary repairs, and this is a huge concern given that the reception hall can generate income for the HCGM when we are through the dangerous COVID period. Moving on to St. George Cathedral, the work on the Pedestrian Bridge is complete. He thanked Mr. John Manikis again for undertaking the landscaping as a donation and informed the Board that Mr. Manikis wants to assist with the repavement of the parking lot surrounding the cathedral. The asphalt is in very bad shape and must be replaced entirely. Working with the HCGM, Mr. Manikis will help raise the amount required for the project. The President urged anyone interested in donating to this campaign to contact the HCGM’s Real Estate Department or Bishop Iakovos.
On the issue of our churches’ financial sustainability, the President shared the recent success of a fundraiser undertaken by Bishop Iakovos with the Philoptoxos of St. George Cathedral and the assistance of Chef Niko Karagiannakis to offer take out meals on Sunday after church. This fundraiser has been held twice, has sold out both times, and has raised a total of $10,500. This idea has been embraced by our other churches, with similar events planned in the coming months. If these events continue to be held on a monthly basis, the annual amount that can be collected will significantly help the viability of our Churches. At this point, the President urged everyone in our community to continue to support our churches in any way we can during this difficult time.
The next point in the President’s report was the HCGM Committees, which continue to work on advancing their many projects. The membership committee, the marketing committee, the social services committee, the school committees all meet regularly. Some, like the cultural committee, are not currently active, as all their activities and events are on hold due to the pandemic.
Once again, the President stressed that we call on anyone who wants to help the organization to do so. Through dialogue and the exchange of ideas, we can achieve a lot, and he asked all Greeks to become members of our Community.
The next issue addressed by the President was the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the climate of tension cultivated by Turkey. Prior to leaving for Greece, Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne met with the President and other leaders in our community via Zoom to discuss issues of importance to Greeks in Canada. Our joint message centred around our deep disapproval on three key issues: Turkey’s provocation in the territorial waters and the continental shelf of Greece and Cyprus, Turkey’s decision to turn Agia Sophia into a mosque and the export of Canadian drone technology to Turkey.
In her first report as Treasurer, Voula Neofotistos stated that DAS is being paid normally. We are currently focusing our efforts on re-examining every possible case for participation in government programs, such as the wage subsidy program, as well as any and all programs which could improve the quality of the services offered by the community to its members. This is a lengthy process as the Community, which is a non-profit organization, is a multi-facet organization and going through the necessary calculations and determining the applicable revenues is time-consuming. Ms.Neofotistos also clarified that the additional funding of $225,706 secured for Socrates-Demosthenes from the Ministry of Education of Quebec, announced at a previous meeting, is related to expenses that arose due to COVID-19 during the past academic year. Following the meeting, we were advised that the HCGM will be receiving the funds on October 16. In closing, Ms. Neofotistos reported that our auditors have almost completed the audit process, and we expect their preliminary results and presentation at the end of October.
The Secretary of Education Tassia Tsaousi reported that, as per the official count conducted on September 30, 2020, the total number of students enrolled in Socrates-Démosthène is 1155 children, which is relatively stable and close to last year’s levels. As for the supplementary schools, the classes are being held online, and the children appear to be enjoying the process. We do not have a final count on the number of students enrolled in Supplementary Education as registration is ongoing until the end of October.
The Executive Vice President and Secretary of Marketing, Constance Karvelas reported that live broadcasts of the Divine Liturgy have resumed at St. George Cathedral, as the limit of 25 people inside the church does not allow many to attend. She reminded everyone that the fundraising effort “Keep the Faith during COVID-19 Fund” continues to be active and urged everyone to “light” their candle online. Finally, she announced that several new initiatives are in development and will be launched soon to allow the message of the HCGM to reach all Greeks in Montreal, regardless of age and language. One such initiative is the summary of the reports from the President and the Secretaries of the Board are now being published in English.
The last to speak was the Secretary of Real Estate, Achilleas Nikopoulos, who reported that some projects have been delayed due to the backlog created by the coronavirus. At the same time, the preparation of new contracts for the maintenance of our buildings continues. In closing, he said shared with the Board that we will need to re-order more personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning/disinfectant products.
A question period by the members of the Board of Directors followed. In New Business, it was proposed to consider reopening the question period by the media at the end of the Board of Directors meeting, as was done in the past, and not just by sending an email to info@ hcgm.org, which of course continues to apply.
The next meeting is scheduled for November 10, 2020.