The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago Foundation (the “Foundation”) was formed in May 2022 as an Illinois not-for-profit charitable organization organized and operated exclusively for religious and charitable purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. The Foundation is organized and operated exclusively to support the religious and charitable purposes of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago (the “Metropolis”), an Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, that serves and pastors Orthodox Christians, parishes, monasteries, and communities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
The Foundation was created to be distinct and independent from the Metropolis. It is a separate 501(c)(3) organization, with its own Board of Directors, financial accounts, and corporate governance. The Foundation’s funds are kept separate from the general funds of the Metropolis of Chicago and invested to support its long-term goals. To maintain the Foundation’s independence from the Metropolis, the Foundation Board Members may not have any pre-existing financial, professional, or familial relationship with any employee of the Metropolis, any member of the Metropolis Council, or board member of the St. Iakovos Retreat Center.
The Foundation Board is comprised of Greek Orthodox Christians who are members in good standing at a parish within the Metropolis or within the broader Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Directors are investment management professionals, accountants, attorneys, business owners, and for-profit or non-profit executives.
The Board is comprised of seven individuals: (3) three members selected through an independent selection process, (2) two members selected and approved by the Metropolis Council, (1) one member appointed by His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago, and (1) the Metropolitan of Chicago. Terms of initial Board Members are staggered between 1-3 years and successor terms will be 3 years. Board Members serve without compensation.
Board Members will be expected to meet not less than quarterly, be committed to developing policies that provide transparency and accountability to donors, manage the affairs of the Foundation, invest funds, make distributions pursuant to the Foundation’s investment and spending policies, and raise funds for the Foundation.
The Foundation has implemented best practices for nonprofit foundations and endowments. Investment, spending and gift acceptance policies have been put in place. Donations to the Foundation are professionally invested by a world class independent investment firm, and overseen by the Foundation’s investment committee, which is comprised of three Board members with significant wealth management and financial experience. Donations to the Foundation are tax deductible under Internal Revenue Code Section 170.
The Foundation’s investment philosophy is guided by our Orthodox Christian faith. In particular, the policy reflects God’s expectation that all endeavors bear fruit and multiply (Genesis 1:28 | Matthew 25:14-30). The desire to increase our return on investment, however, is moderated by St. Paul’s teaching that evil should not be pursued in our effort to bring about good (Romans 3:8). This means that the Foundation intentionally avoids certain sectors in the marketplace that it deems inconsistent with our faith and values.
The Foundation has enacted a Spending Policy which governs the timing and amount distributed to the Metropolis to support its ministries, programs, and initiatives, as well as its affiliates and parishes. Under that policy, once the Foundation’s endowed funds reach an aggregate fair market value of $5,000,000 or, if earlier, five years from the date the Foundation first receives endowed funds, the Foundation expects to distribute no less than twenty-five percent (25%) of its net investment income to the Metropolis.
Under the Spending Policy, distributions of endowment funds to the Metropolis are intended to be used to support Metropolis-level ministries and programs, including, but not limited to:
- Youth and young adult ministry programs
- Project HOPE
- Clergy development, formation, and evaluation programs
- Religious literacy programs
- Evangelism and mission initiatives
- Family ministries
Foundation distributions will also support Metropolis affiliated organizations, including, but not limited to:
- Saint Iakovos Retreat Center
- NIKA House
- Philoxenia Charities
Finally, distributions will support Metropolis parish needs, including emergency capital improvements and clergy wellness, as well as Metropolis operating costs.