Hellenic Foundation History
In 1953, Father George Mastrantonis, a Greek Orthodox priest, founded Hellenic Foundation with a group of civic minded and caring community leaders. This actualized his dream to create an organization that would care for the elderly, youth and families of the Hellenic-American community. Their first step was to concentrate on the housing needs of the elderly. Hellenic Foundation evolved throughout the years into a multifaceted and dynamic, not-for-profit, social service organization.
In 1973, the Board of Directors had the financial resources necessary to purchase Hollywood House, dedicated to providing affordable housing to seniors. Hollywood House also offered special programs, exercise classes, seminars and recreational activities to seniors. As a result of a survey held in 1974, the social service agency Hellenic Family & Community Services was created, to meet the needs of the Hellenic American community. Hellenic Family & Community Services offered referrals, advocacy, translations and informational services, as well as assistance with immigration issues. In 1980, the recreational program Hellenic Golden Circle for seniors was created.
With the purchase of Hollywood House in 1973, the Hellenic Foundation maintained its offices at that address, 5700 N Sheridan, Chicago, Illinois. In 1995, the Foundation purchased and remodeled a building at 6251 W Touhy, Chicago, IL 60646. The Foundation retained facility management offices at Hollywood House, and moved its administrative and social services offices to the Touhy location. Following the sale of Hollywood House in 2007, 6251 W Touhy became the location for all of the Hellenic Foundation offices and programs.
The effort to properly maintain the Hollywood House facility required a significant annual outlay of capital and fund raising events. With the low number of members from the Greek community residing at Hollywood House, the financial commitment on the Foundation’s Board of Directors, staff and community could no longer be justified. Consequently, in 2007, the Board of Directors made the determination to take sell Hollywood House, taking advantage of a beneficial market conditions, and to invest the proceeds. The result of this wise decision is a Foundation that has the financial ability to provide in home care for our qualified senior population under the Community Care Program, and to support programs and organizations addressing the needs of the Greek and Orthodox community of Chicago and its suburbs through its Grant Program that was implemented in 2016.
In 2016, the Hellenic Foundation initiated its Grant Program. During the period of 2016 – 2019, this Program has awarded in excess of $1,000,000 to program, projects and organizations that specifically serve Chicagoland’s Greek and Pan-Orthodox community.