IOCC: Setting Up A Metropolitan Area Committee

By Fr. Irinej Dobrijevic

YES! We are interested in the philanthropic work of International Orthodox Christian Charities. However, we are in need of some background, operational and practical information.

HISTORY: Since its inception in 1992, by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), IOCC has administered more than $60 million in programs throughout the world. Through these programs IOCC assists tens of thousands of persons each year. In carrying out the mission of Jesus Christ throughout the world, sharing God’s gifts of food, shelter, economic self-sufficiency and hope, IOCC renders itself fully accountable to the public and its donors. Working in cooperation with Orthodox Churches worldwide, IOCC assumes the highest professional standards and provides assistance solely on the basis of need.

FIELD OFFICES: The mission of IOCC is global. Regardless of location, all programs are developed in consultation with the local communities and Church leaders, local and international authorities. Field offices are established at the invitation of the host Church. IOCC currently works in the following areas:

Former Yugoslavia

Republic of Georgia

Russian Federation


Middle East


PROMINENCE: IOCC is a member of InterAction, a coalition of US based non-governmental organizations that carry out overseas humanitarian assistance programs. At a White House ceremony in January of 1996, IOCC has been acclaimed as one of the leading US charities in the former Yugoslavia by First Lady, Hilary Rodham Clinton. As such, IOCC works in partnership with ecumenical institutions, foundations, governments, corporations and international multi-lateral agencies. Uniquely qualified as the only international Orthodox charity, IOCC enjoys the trust and confidence of Orthodox Christians throughout the world.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS: IOCC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors that have been approved by SCOBA. As first stewards of the organization, this eminent group of Orthodox Christian clergy and laity govern the policies and operations of IOCC and oversee stewardship of the organization and its resources.

MEET THE IOCC STAFF: A professional staff, managed by the Executive Director, answers to the Board of Directors and exists to identify the needs, develop plans, manage operations and provide accountability. From its headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland, the IOCC staff supervises overseas operations, tracks grants, provides reports to donors and guides programs.

METROPOLITAN AREA COMMITTEES: In order to provide Orthodox Christians in the Americas full ownership of IOCC as their own charity, pan-Orthodox Metropolitan Area Committees have been established in major cities throughout the United States. These committees, which consist of both dedicated clergy and lay volunteers, sponsor fund-raising events and initiate campaigns to foster awareness of Orthodox Christian philanthropy and benefit the work of IOCC. In its efforts to bring assistance to those who suffer and are in need, IOCC asks you to help us help others.

TYPE OR MODEL: In selecting a working model for organizational purposes, the following two dynamic Metropolitan Area Committee models are offered for your review and implementation as deemed locally appropriate:

Chicago Cleveland
The IOCC/Chicago Metropolitan Committee is set up with a permanently appointed chairperson. He/she is assisted by jurisdictional co-chair persons who work with various SCOBA parish representatives appointed to the Metropolitan Area Committee in the Greater Chicago area.The number of jurisdictional chairpersons need not be limited to a specific number and each can encompass as many of the jurisdictions as are present in a given area. The Chicago Committee also maintains a chairperson for their local canister program and annual banquet.On the other hand, the IOCC/Cleveland Metropolitan Committee is set up with an elected chairperson and board that serve for a two-year mandate. Assisting the chairperson are three co-chairpersons. The first is charged with the responsibility of overseeing major events and major donors. The second coordinates the efforts of the parishes in geographic clusters. Domestic charities is the responsibility of the third co-chair person. The immediate past chairperson heads the nominating committee.

OFFICERS: Local Metropolitan Area Committees are fully indigenous and may select whatever model and/or combination of officers that will meet their specific needs. In order to maintain a fully functional committee, the following officers are suggested:

Co-Chairperson(s) and/or Project and Event Coordinators
Spiritual Advisor
Secretary (Recording, Corresponding)
Education Coordinator
Major Donor Coordinator

Each Metropolitan Area Committee should have as their honorary chairpersons local members of the IOCC Board of Directors and, wherever possible, one Bishop from each jurisdiction.

PARISH REPRESENTATIVES: Most IOCC committees meet on a monthly basis. In order to maintain the flow of information and coordinate parish participation, each and every SCOBA parish in a given greater metropolitan vicinity should have its own parish representative. This is essential to the vitality of the local Metropolitan Area Committee. Certain committees, such as IOCC/Cleveland, instead of enlisting jurisdictional co-chairpersons, maintain cluster coordinators, who serve to oversee geographical areas.

OBJECTIVES AND EVENTS: A wide variety of local events may be sponsored to bring together the pan-Orthodox community in a common bond of love and fellowship. The purpose of all events is to raise both awareness and desperately-needed funds for our brothers and sisters, children and those who suffer, those who are in need. Most Metropolitan Area Committees enjoy sharing a meal by sponsoring a banquet. The 1998 Chicago banquet was honored by the presence of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle I. That same year, IOCC/Cleveland hosted over 450 guests, representing 23 of the 35 local Orthodox parishes. Several years ago, IOCC/San Francisco enjoyed a Lenten meal prepared and served by the youth of the host Antiochian parish. Other events are geared towards the youth, such as Cleveland’s OrthoFeast, which brings together a soccer tournament and folklore festival, and Lenten youth retreats in Portland and Akron. Some successfully sponsored committee events include a walk-a-thon in Baltimore, golf tournaments in Cleveland and Chicago, a choir concert in Pittsburgh, an ethnic dance festival in Los Angeles, silent auctions in Akron, Baltimore and Cleveland, a refugee art show in New York City.

INTERNET: As IOCC has also entered into the age of electronic media, we maintain a web site at Your committee events can be submitted for posting on the web site for everyone to share. The position of publicist is therefore essential to any committee so that local news and events can be shared with the public-at-large through the IOCC News & Needs and other Orthodox publications.

PROJECTS: SCOBA has proclaimed, annually, the Sunday preceding Thanksgiving as IOCC Sunday. This provides a singular opportunity for a focused national endeavor on behalf of IOCC in every parish across the USA. For that given Sunday, Vestal Publishing provides custom-designed Sunday bulletin covers, and stewardship envelopes are available through American Church Publishing. Other IOCC projects which are available to Metropolitan Area Committees:

IOCC Membership Campaign
Thanksgiving Lunchless Lunch
Christmas Gift of Love
Alternate Giving
Memorial Donations

LOCAL ENTITIES: As each location is unique and must accommodate its own specific requirements, IOCC/Metropolitan Area Committees may establish, in coordination with IOCC Headquarters, local entities and maintain petty cash funds. To help witness to Orthodox Christian philanthropic endeavors in the local community, IOCC Metropolitan Area Committees are encouraged to register and engage in area United Way and Combined Federal Campaigns (CFC#0348). Establishing proper local entities will also avail Metropolitan Area Committees to available funding through community, city, and state grants. IOCC is registered as a tax-exempt 501©(3) charity with the Internal Revenue Service.

Thank you for your kind and continued interest in IOCC and in carrying out Christ’s holy message of love and service to the “least of His brethren” (Matthew 25).

Welcome to the ever-growing family of IOCC!

For more information about setting up an IOCC Metropolitan Area Committee, contact IOCC, 711 W. 40th St., Suite 306, Baltimore, MD 21211. Tel: 1-410-243-9820. Ask for Fr. Jim Kyriakakis.

Fr. Irinej Dobrijevic is IOCC Church Liaison Officer.