The HCGM Creates Funding Program to Help Families Affected by SEF Cuts

January 30, 2020

On December 17th, 2019 a meeting was held between Christos Sirros the President of the Socrates Education Foundation and the HCGM President, Andreas Crilis, Voula Neofotistos, Vice President – Secretary of Education and Constance Karvelas Executive Vice President and Secretary of Marketing. The meeting was requested by Mr. Sirros to explore the possibility of having one single entity under the HCGM that would be responsible for the fund-raising activities for the benefit of the École Socrates-Démosthène.

On January 21st, 2020, a letter referencing this meeting and addressed to the President of the HCGM, was sent to all HCGM BOD members and to the media. In this rather surprising letter Mr. Sirros concluded that there was no hope for a collaborative relationship between the HCGM and SEF. It was alleged that during the meeting, the HCGM expressed that the dissolution of the SEF was a prerequisite for any further discussions.  This is false.

During the meeting, we asked many questions about the SEF’s proposal to merge with the HCGM, ranging from legal issues to operational considerations, answers for which required Mr. Sirros (and rightfully so) to return to his Board to discuss. It was at this point, in the spirit of cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, that the HCGM suggested the creation of a new foundation (which would entail that both fundraising entities, the SEF and the Fundraising Committee of the HCGM, be dissolved).In this endeavor, the HCGM along with the members of both fundraising bodies would chart a new path, bringing together their people, varied experiences, resources and knowledge to create a better and more efficient fundraising unit. When the meeting adjourned, it was clear that SEF needed to have further discussions as a Board to elaborate how their initial idea could be achieved, and that we on our end needed to explore our suggested idea further as well.  We were under the impression that this meeting was a first step, and we fail to understand how it was interpreted it in any other way.

Instead, the SEF President, Mr Sirros, sent us the aforementioned letter informing us that during the SEF Annual General Assembly which was held on January 15, 2020 at the HCGM’s premises (as a courtesy to SEF’s mission, the HCGM provides this and use of other venues, free of charge), a decision was taken to cease tuition funding as of the 2020-2021 school year to the families of École Socrates-Démosthène that seek its assistance. Even more alarming was that this important decision was communicated to the affected parents not only at a very sensitive time (right before the end of the schools registration period), but also before being communicated to the HCGM, which would have given us time to plan for ways to minimize the financial impact for those parents.  

Such a sudden and unforeseen decision, apart from causing undue stress to affected parents is currently being accompanied by an incomprehensible campaign of negative publicity against the HCGM. The decision of the SEF to cease its fundraising activities for our school was taken by them alone.  The HCGM has no power in the decisions of independent foundations, such as the SEF.

Our primary concern at this point is the needs of parents affected by this decision. Therefore, the HCGM is announcing today that it will be creating its own funding program that will offer financial support to families in need of assistance to cover tuition fees.  An announcement will also be sent out to all parents today to begin this new process. Our community should remain assured that the HCGM will find the financial sources necessary for families in need.

The Board of Directors of the HCGM is dedicated to ensuring a sustainable future for our Community and to safeguard it from uncertainty and instability. Our schools, churches and community centres are our shared patrimony, and we all have the obligation to ensure their existence for generations to come.