Profile of a Donor
John Pappajohn is a visionary, and that vision is seen not only in an extraordinary life of entrepreneurial genius, but in a philanthropic legacy of beauty and wisdom.
He became one of the nations first, and is now recognized as one of the world’s premier venture capitalists. In 1969 he founded Equity Dynamics and Pappajohn Capital Resources in Des Moines, Iowa. He has served as a director for more than 40 publicly traded companies, launched more than 100 startups, and taken more than fifty companies public. He has received many honors for his accomplishments including the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, four honorary doctorates, and other awards too numerous to mention.
But whileJohn is a known entrepreneurial genius, he is equally known for his generosity. John and Mary Pappajohn have contributed 100 million dollars to charities and education. They have founded the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial centers at five Iowa colleges and universities. Their success has resulted in more than 175,000 graduates of the program and more than 1000 small businesses launched.
And their philanthropy toward education is equaled by their love of beauty. John and Mary Pappajohn are among the top 200 art collectors in the world. John sits on numerous boards for the arts, including Vice Chairman, Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, DC, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Trustees Council the National Gallery of Art and the Whitney Museum. Mary is a trustee at the Des Moines Art Center and former trustees at the Walker museum of Art in Minneapolis.
John is a leading Archon, a member of Leadership 100 and the Faith Endowment Fund. He has served the Archdiocese in many different capacities, but in the early design stage for the new Saint Nicholas Church at Ground Zero, John was a prophetic voice for the Calatrava design.
He recently answered a few questions from the Orthodox Observer about the rebuilding of Saint Nicholas.
OO: Mr. Pappajophn: You were the first person to commit one million dollars to rebuilding St. Nicholas at Ground Zero. What inspired you about the project?
Pappajohn: First of all, I thought it was a wonderful project! Everytime I went to Wall Street, I would stop by the little church on Cedar Street, that outpost of Greek Orthodoxy, and pray and light a candle. With the rebuilt Church, St. Nicholas will put our faith on the map like nothing else! It will be a place to bring people of all religions together. I loved that little church and to see it rise again as a National Shrine, a beacon, an icon of our faith is really something to be proud of!
OO: How do you feel about the design by Calatrava?
Pappajohn: He is an artist – most architects are not – and his design is brilliant. From the first time I saw the model, I knew was the one we had to build. It’s a beacon, a holy shrine, a place to do your stavro, to pray and to be at peace. And the color, the gleaming effect of the marble. It will tell the story for generations.
OO: How do you see the mission of Saint Nicholas in the future?
Pappajohn:The new Saint Nicholas is for people – ALL PEOPLE—to come, to come and pray and thank God for our well being, and to memorialize the people who perished that fateful day in American history.It will become a place of Pilgrimage for Greek Orthodox and for others. Saint Nicholas will have a tremendous responsibility to be the face of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. The clergy, the docents, who will give tours, all of us have an opportunity to proudly share our religion and our heritage. And how many of us have families that immigrated from Greece through Ellis Island in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty? St. Nicholas has this story to tell as well.
OO: What is the impact you feel that St. Nicholas will have on the Greek Orthodox and wider communities?
Pappajohn: I believe it will expose Greek Orthodoxy to other faith groups and I can anticipate ecumenical services being part of the life of this church. I am very pleased that the third floor Bereavement Center will be a space open to all. And so Saint Nicholas will not flaunt our faith but bring us closer to other communities. We should all be so proud – periphanoi! –of our new church. This is something like nothing else that we never had. Mary and I and our whole family are so very proud that we are part of the Saint Nicholas National Shrine!
Now that construction has started, we want to take the time to recognize some of the donors that were with us immediately after the horrific events of 9/11. Without them and their continued support, we would not be rebuilding today.
The American Jewish Committee
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston
The Episcopal Church of the Divine Love
Auburn Community Church
The Diocesan Missionary and Church Extension Society
United Association Emergency Relief Fund
Archdiocese of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Inc.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany
Union of Greek Shipowners
Independent Fiduciary Services, Inc.
Bank of Greece/ Fotios K. Koutras
Tsakos Shipping & Trading S.A/ Macedonia House
Embassy of the State of Qatar
AHEPA Charitable Foundation
Permanent Mission of Cyprus to the United Nations
Connecticut Rivers Council
Upper NY State Jr. Federation Organization Christians of America
Commerical Bank of Greece/Mayor Avramopoulos of Athens
Houston International Seaman's Center/Argiros
Alpha Bank of Greece/ Mayor Avramopoulos of Athens
St.Mary's Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church
Banca Nazionale Decomune Di Bari
NEW YORK GOYA YOUTH PRESENT DONATIONS FOR ST. NICHOLAS AND ASSISTANCE TO GREECE
and Fr. Aristidis Garinis (L), Fr. John Lardas and Dn. Panagiotis Papazafiropoulos (R) - photo D.Panagos/GOA
NEW YORK – Representatives of the GOYA groups (Greek Orthodox Youth of America) in New York’s five boroughs visited His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, Feb. 24, at his office and presented a donation of $10,000 dollars as their contribution to the rebuilding of Saint Nicholas at the World Trade Center.
Additionally, they presented to His Eminence a second check in the amount of $2,000, intented to support the food bank program of the Holy Metropolis of Neapolis and Stavropolis. (near Thessaloniki, Greece)
The money were the proceeds of a Christmas party fundraiser event held Dec. 28, 2014 in Astoria, NY and was organized by the Five-Borough GOYA of the Direct Archdiocesan District and the support of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
The GOYA group was led by Fr. John Lardas, proistamenos of SS Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, and consisted of the following GOYA officers: Nicholas Chronis, Nicole Karagounis, Andreana Karakostas, Nick Kouveris, Stavros Mallas, Evie Paloumbis, Demetri Perdik and Gregory Poulon. Fr. Aristidis Garinis, pastor at St. Nicholas Church in Flushing, NY and Dn. Panagiotis Papazafiropoulos, Youth director for the Direct Archdiocesan District overseeing the Five-Borough GOYA.