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The American Club’s charitable initiation

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• Initiative Linked with Three Charities

• Campaign Launch on the Eve of Posidonia 2012

The American P&I Club is this month launching an ambitious initiative aimed at feeding 100 needy families for 100 days in embattled Greece, as well as supporting children with special needs.

In a link-up with three long-established charities in Greece, the club will launch its campaign at an evening roof garden reception in central Athens on Thursday, May 31, to mark the start of Posidonia 2012 that will take place the following week.

After careful research by a donation project committee comprising three Greek members of the club’s board of directors and representatives of the managers, Shipowners Claims Bureau Inc., Krikos Zois (translated as Life Link) was identified as the lead charity to facilitate the American Club charity initiative. This voluntary charity was founded in 2005 by a group of people in shipping; it helps the rising number of homeless, destitute people as well as those in general need, its main activity being food supplies.

The austerity measures in Greece have hit the average working family especially hard, creating a greater proportion of the population struggling to support themselves and provide even the most basic needs. Through Krikos Zois, the club will fund the provision of food products/supplies to feed 100 needy families based in the traditional Piraeus shipping prefecture.

The second charity, Argo, is a charitable association of a union of seafarer parents whose children have special needs; it was founded in 1985 by a few seafaring families. Argo provides both a day care and full care facility for seafarers’ children with various obstacles related to both mental and physical development.  Many of these children would be lost without these facilities, which also include vocational training for those capable, thereby giving a chance for some to become productive contributors to society.  While many charities obtain significant funding from the private sector, Argo is especially dependent on public funding, and has been badly hit because of the recent austerity measures and budget cuts in Greece.

The third charity is I Hara (The Joy), a centre based in Athens for people with special needs, providing shelter, education, food and everything a normal child and/or a dependent person needs. The centre was visited by representatives from the project committee who were very impressed with the quality of the entire compound and its staff. The centre is in the process of trying to build a second compound next to the existing one, in order to accommodate the growing number of children and young adults in need of the round-the-clock care for those whose families cannot provide it.  This has created a much more serious need for financial resources, and a donation by the club towards the new building will help speed completion of this development.

The club’s target donation was €60, 000, to be split evenly among the three charities. However, a number of club directors as well as the managers have already pledged such significant amounts that the total to date has now more than doubled this figure.

The donation will be combined with a “Matching Challenge Campaign” for guests from the Greek shipping, insurance and legal communities at the May 31 reception.

Dorothea Ioannou*, who heads the claims team as manager of Shipowners Claims Bureau (Hellas) in Piraeus, and who has been co-ordinating the logistics of the project, said today: “Greece and millions of its people are being battered by the worst economic crisis in memory, piling new demands every day on the population and especially the country’s charities. We hope that this initiative by the American Club will in a small way go towards helping some of those most in need. It also reflects our appreciation and commitment to the Greek shipping community, and in particular our growing Greek membership that now accounts for about 40% of the club’s entered tonnage.

“At our reception we will challenge the several hundred guests to match the club’s donation and thus become part of a greater effort to support the growing number of needy people in Greece.”

*Dorothea Ioannou is highly experienced and qualified in marine insurance and maritime law, being a member of the New York Bar Association, with over 16 years’ experience exclusively in the maritime sector and just been elected Vice-president of WISTA-Hellas.

The American Club was founded in February 1917. In addition to its US headquarters in New York, the club is able to provide local service across all time zones, communicating in 11 languages, with subsidiary offices in London, Piraeus and Shanghai and a worldwide network of correspondents. The Piraeus office was opened in 2005.

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