Who we are
The Arthritis Foundation of Crete is a nonprofit organization which was
established in 2003 by a group of people with rheumatic diseases. Nowadays
(2014) we count 810 members, most of whom are RMDs patients.
The aims of the organization are:
1. To support and advocate rheumatic patients.
2. To raise awareness among the general public, its members and every
responsible agency or organization regarding prevention, treatment, new
methods of treatments and rehabilitation which concern those suffering from
3. To improve the quality of life of people with Rheumatic Diseases by
creating support groups which will provide aid and moral support to and
among the members of the foundation.
4. To claim optimal quality health services at all levels by improving the
available technical means and demanding an adequate number of specialized
and qualified individuals in the field of Rheumatology.
5. To promote research so that more knowledge will be acquired and more
efficacious treatments will be developed.
Who we represent
Our members are people with rheumatic diseases (inflammatory arthritis,
SEL, Fibromyalgia, Scleroderma etc) their families, friends and volunteers
who want to contribute in carrying out the aims of our association.
Others we work with
• Patients with rheumatic disease organizations and parents of children
with rheumatic disease who are also activating in Greece.
• Patients with chronic disease organizations in Greece in order to face the
problems we have in common (access to treatments, patients’
involvement in health decision making etc).
• The University Clinic of Rheumatology in Heraklion, Crete
We are members of AGORA (The Platform of Southern Europe
Organizations for people with RMDs) and ENFA (European Fibromyalgia
What we do
• We support and advocate patients with rheumatic diseases
• We publish printed material in the form of leaflets, booklets, etc,
regarding Rheumatic Diseases in simple to understand language so
that both patients and the public are able to gain greater understanding
and heightened awareness.
• We organize specialized lectures and discussions on a vast spectrum
of RMDs and related issues such as RA, JIA, SEL, Ankylosing
Spondylitis, Pain Management etc. led by distinguished professors,
doctors, psychologists and specialists.
• We implement EDUCATION AND SELF MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
for our members in small groups regarding a range of RMDs such as
SLE, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc. with the help of volunteer
doctors and other specialists.
• We notify the Mass Media of the activities of the foundation and of the
issues that should be made known to the general public.
• We organize social, recreational, cultural and artistic events that aim to
improve the quality of life of the patients.
• We conduct surveys which identify and record the problems that are
faced by the patients related to RMDs and their quality of life.
• We appear on TV health talk shows to discuss a spectrum of RMDs.
• We write and talk to government representatives about the concerns of
• We participate in European organization whose aims are similar to
ours, such as EULAR, Agora the platform and ENFA and attend
conferences and patient organizations meetings.
CONSTITUTION / BY LAWS
The Association is founded and registered as “SYLLOGOS REUMATOPATHON KRITIS”, known in English as the “ARTHRITIS FOUNDATION OF CRETE” whose central headquarters will be located in HERAKLION, CRETE in GREECE. Here, it may be referred to as Association, Foundation or with the acronym, AFC.
The aims of the Foundation are the following:
1. Informing the public, its members and every responsible agency or organization
regarding prevention, treatment, new methods of treatments and rehabilitation which concern those suffering from Rheumatic Diseases.
2 The welfare of people with Rheumatic Diseases by creating support groups that will provide aid and moral support to and among the members of the foundation.
3. Claiming and Seeking optimal quality of health services at all levels by improving the available technical means and demanding an adequate number of specialized and qualified individuals in the field of Rheumatology.
4. The promotion of research so that more knowledge will be acquired and more efficacious treatments will be developed. This will be achieved by providing moral support and demanding from the appropriate government agencies the financial aid and reinforcement for each and every existing team of research, diagnosis and treatment as well a any such team that may be formed in the future.
The means for realizing the aims of the Foundation are the following:
1. Publication of printed material by the Foundation in the form of leaflets, booklets,
magazines, newspapers etc, regarding Rheumatic Diseases in simple to understand language so that both patients and the public will gain greater understanding and heightened awareness.
2. Organizing specialized seminars and lectures.
3. Notification of the Mass Media of the activities of the Foundation and of the issues that should be made known to the general public.
4. Organization of social, recreational, cultural and artistic events that will aim for the
improvement of the quality of life of the patients.
5. Formation of teams of volunteers at various regional areas which will visit and provide care for sufferers of Rheumatic Diseases.
6. Identifying and recording all the problems that are faced by the patients which are related to their particular illnesses. Subsequently, proposals and programs will be developed for the resolution of these problems.
7. Providing all kinds of protection and assistance to people with Rheumatic Diseases.
8. Any other means or method which is deemed necessary by the Board of Directors and which is not contrary to the aims of the association.
The members of the foundation will be separated into regular and honorary members.
Regular are the active members of the Foundation. Any adult recommended by another member may also become a member provided he is a resident of Crete, non-resident of Cretan descent or is receiving medical treatment in Crete. The person interested in becoming a regular member must submit an application in writing to the Board of Directors in which he must declare his intention to become a member, acceptance of the Constitution of the Foundation and his willingness to serve the aims of the Foundation. The Board decides on this person’s membership at the first meeting and his application is approved without fail.
Whoever is accepted as a member of the Foundation is registered in the Foundation’s registry of members from the moment that he submits his registration and annual membership fee. All the members of the Foundation are automatically regular members provided they regulate their financial obligations.
The Board of Director has the right to bestow the title of “honorary member” on an individual whose attitude and behavior have aided in the realization of the aims of the Foundation provided the decision is unanimous. Honorary members may be Greek citizens or foreigners. Honorary members may participate in the constitutional processes of the Foundation but do not have the right to vote.
The members of the Foundation are obligated to contribute, according to their abilities, to the fulfillment of the aims of the Foundation, to participate in the activities and events, to pay their fees (membership dues) and every member has the right and duty to comply with the regulations of the Constitution and the decisions of the Board and the General Assemblies.
The rights of the members are the following:
1. To elect and be elected in all the enacted (statutory) bodies of the Foundation.
2. To participate in General Assemblies of the Foundation and to express their point of view and with the right to vote.
3. To submit proposals in writing and orally to the Board and at the General Assemblies and to exercise administrative and managerial audits.
Each member has the right to freely withdraw from the Foundation at any time after submitting a written resignation to the Board. In case a member who has willingly left the Foundation wishes to become a member again, he must follow the same statutory procedure as that for registering new members. The Board may reprimand a member of the Association who commits a misdemeanor. The Board after a unanimous decision may proceed to expel a member of the Association if the member:
1. Does not comply with the provisions of the Constitution, or the decisions of the General Assembly and the Board of Directors.
2. Acts in a manner injurious to the moral or material interests of the Association.
3. Is punished for a serious offense of common law.
4. Delays his financial obligations to the Association for at least two years and after having been informed in writing.
The resources of the Association come from:
1. The registration fee of the members which is equivalent to the amount of 5 (five) euro for each member and the annual contribution of membership fees of 1O (ten) euro .
2. Donations, legacies, bequests and any other contribution made by members or others to the Foundation.
3. Contributions and grants by individuals, legal representatives of public or
private organization, other Foundations, Governments, businesses, etc.
4. Receipts from fund raising events and all kinds of activities such as dinner- dances,
sale of printed material, lotteries etc.
The Board of Directors consists of 7 (seven) members elected every two years by secret ballot during the election process provided for in this Constitution and each member is eligible for reelection.
The term of office of the Board may be extended until the election of a new administration, but no more than three months, unless some insurmountable obstacle prevents the timely convergence of the General Assembly and elections.
In the event of removal of a member of the Board for any reason, the position is covered by the first alternate.
The following apply for the election of the Board of Directors:
1. Conducting elections for the Board is decided at the Annual General Assembly every two years.
2. The process and supervision of the election and nomination of new members and alternate members of the Board are made by the election committee which consists of three members who are elected at the Annual General Assembly which decides on the election process. Candidates for the Board of Directors or the Auditing Committee cannot participate in the election committee.
The chairman of the Election Committee is the first in votes. The election committee prepares the minutes of the election results and delivers them to the candidate with the highest number of votes or in case of a tie, after a draw to the one drawn. The electoral process is carried out in the four prefectures of Crete on the same day and at the same time. At the end of the voting, the ballots are counted in each prefecture, then the practical results are drawn up and sent to Heraklion where a summary of the total results is made and from where the final results are announced.
3. Voting is done by crosses on one single ballot. One can enter up to 7 (seven) crosses. The names of candidates on the ballot are written in strictly alphabetical order.
4. Voting is secret.
5. The first 7 (seven) candidates in the number of crosses are elected as members of the Board. The next 3 (three) are elected as alternates.
6. For better representation of all members by region, the distribution of the members of the election is as follows; The four members of the Board consist of one from each of the four geographical regions of Crete, ie a member from Heraklion, a member from Chania, a member from Rethymnon and a member from Lasithi. The other three members are the first in votes regardless of what region they are from. In case there are no candidates from a region, the candidate in order of votes takes that place. To same applies to all regions for which there are no candidates.
7. Nominations for the election to the Board are given in writing to the members of the Election Committee 3 (three) days prior to the election date.
8. People cannot be nominated for members of the Board if they are not in good standing, are not residents of Crete, and those convicted irrevocably of any felony or misdemeanor and generally any offense that stems from selfishness or crime against humanity. The candidate along with his nomination must submit an affidavit stating that there is no such obstruction to his election.
9. After the election, the chairman of the electoral committee delivers the results with the elected in order of votes, to the first elected member in number of votes. In the event of a tie, the results are delivered after a draw, to the one whose name has been drawn.
10. The recipient of the election results calls within 7 (seven) days the newly elected Board of Directors as a body and by secret ballot, they elect a) President b) Vice President c) General Secretary d) Treasurer. The other three are elected ordinary members of the Board of Directors. In the event of a tie in the election of office for the Board, the one with the highest number of votes from the electoral process is elected.
11. The next 3 (three) members in votes after the election of seven members of the Board are the alternates.
The Board meets regularly once a month and whenever the President considers it necessary or when at least 2 (two) Board members request it in writing. The board has a quorum and can make decisions if there are at least four members present. Decisions are taken by a simple majority of the members present. In the event of a tie, the President’s point of view overrides.
The Board is convened by written or oral request at least 48 hours before the meeting. The issues to be discussed are announced at the same time as the invitation to the meeting. Issues off the agenda can be discussed if it is decided by the majority of those present. If the President or Vice President does not attend a meeting, the Board members present appoint someone by a majority vote to exercise the rights of the President at the meeting. If one of the members of the Board does not attend more than three consecutive meetings, the Board has the right to terminate his term of office as member of the Board after having asked the member to submit his explanation 48 hours earlier.
The Board of Directors, at the end of each year, is required to convene the Annual General Assembly and to report in writing the operation of the Association on the following topics:
1. Administrative Review of the Board for the past year. Proposals for the prospect and future of the Association.
2. Organizational. Problems and situations in the organizational structure of the Foundation. Proposals for modifying the organization of the Foundation.
3. Management. Balance sheet and accounts of the past year.
Next year’s budget. The President of the Board represents the Association in all cases and confronting each authority and court, convenes the General Assembly of the Association, presides over meetings of the Board, chairs the General Assembly, signs together with the secretary or treasurer, depending on the kind of document, all documents and payment orders and receipts of all kinds. The President is entitled
to attend without the right to vote all committees, divisions, groups, boards, branches etc of the Association.
The Vice-president supersedes and replaces the President when he is absent or indisposed, in all rights and obligations.
The Secretary co-signs with the President all the documents, keeps the minutes of the Board, holds the seal of the Association, keeps and maintains all books except the book of income and expenditure which is kept by the treasurer, prepares and co-signs with the President of the Foundation the achievement of the Foundation which are submitted to the General Assembly of the members. In case of absence or incapacity of the Secretary, he is replaced by a member of the Board appointed by him in consensus with the President.
The Treasurer maintains all financial transactions of the Association, makes payments with payment orders countersigned by the President, maintains and updates the book income-expenses, keeps archived documents of all transactions for 5 (five) years, appears with the President as a joint owner of an account opened under the name of the Association in a recognized Bank of Greece or Savings institution, submits quarterly statements and whenever requested by the Board condensed statement of income and expenditure to the Board. The Treasurer together with the Secretary draw up the Year-balance sheet account of the past year and the next year’s budget and submit it for approval to the General Assembly of the members of AFC. The treasurer has an obligation to cooperate willingly with the Auditing Committee and to present any such books and documentation management, and any item requested by the members. If the Treasurer is absent or indisposed, he is replaced by a Board member designated by him.
The members of the Board and the Audit Committee cannot accept employment with wages and cannot enter into contracts involving any kind of services, or services that are designed to provide them profit by taking over a project, providing supplies or any other service to the Foundation. In very specific and unpredictable situations other than this Statute, the General Assembly of the members may decide to make exceptions to this rule.
The General Assembly is the supreme body of the Association and shall decide all affairs. The General Assembly decides on the election of the Election Committee, the Board of Directors and Audit Committee, amends or supplements the statutes, the dissolution of the Association, and generally any matter referred to by the Board and all matters of the Association.
The General Assembly meets regularly once a year, and whenever requested by the Board, or when a written request by 1/5 of the members of good standing financially asks for it in writing from the Board. The request must clearly state the issues to be discussed and the Board is obliged to convene the General Assembly no later than one month from the date of application.
In the Annual General Meeting, written accountability is given regarding the administrative, organizational, and managerial matters by the Board. The General Assembly approves or rejects the annual account-balance sheet, operations of the Board, the report of the Audit Committee and exempts them from any liability. The General Assembly approves the budget for the following year and plans for future action by the AFC. Furthermore, all issues that have been included by the Board on the agenda are discussed.
The General Assembly is chaired by the President of the Board, in the absence of the President, it is chaired by the Vice-president, and in the absence of both, a member of those present is elected president. At each General Assembly, the President helps to elect a secretary who keeps the minutes of the meeting and prepares the final minutes signed by him and the chairman of the meeting.
The decisions of the General Assembly are made by an absolute majority of the members present. For amending the statutes and the dissolution of the Association an increased majority is required which is laid down in the next article.
Invitations to the General Assembly are in writing and given in person or sent by mail to the members at least ten days before the day of the meeting. Moreover, the invitation is published in at least one local daily newspaper in each county in Crete ie, Heraklion, Rethymnon, Chania, Lasithi ten days prior to making the call for the Assembly. On the invitation, the following are stated: whether it is a regular or an urgent meeting, the location and time of day scheduled for the meeting.
In the General Assembly, all the agenda items are discussed and no others. If a member wishes to discuss any other topic, he is required before the commencement of the discussion on the scheduled topics, to submit a request in writing to the President of the Assembly. The President is obliged at the start of the discussion to put the issue to a vote and the Assembly decides whether the topic is to be discussed.
The General Assembly has a quorum if there are at least half plus one of the members of good standing present. In case of no quorum, the General Assembly is repeated without another call on the same day and time and at the same place the following week, ie after of 8 (eight) days.
The Audit Committee consists of 3 (three) members who serve for two years.
They are elected by the Annual General Assembly who decides on the electoral procedure. The candidate with the most votes is the President and the other two, members. In the event of a tie, there is a draw and the one whose name is drawn is appointed president.
The Audit Committee meets regularly every 6 (six) months and in urgent cases whenever requested in writing by one of its own member, or two members of the Board, or 1/5 of the members of the Association who are in good standing.
The Audit Committee as a body, or one of its members that is duly authorized, has the right at any time to check all the documents and all kinds of data of the Association concerning the management or any act of the Board. All items can be checked retroactively since the incorporation of the Association.
Any refusal of any Board member or the Foundation’s Branches, to give the information required by the Audit Committee, is a serious disciplinary misdemeanor and implies expulsion from the administration of the Foundation. The Auditing Committee draws up and submits to the Annual General Assembly each year a report on the audit that it has carried out on the work done by the Board.
The Audit Committee has a quorum if all three of its members are present. The decisions are taken by a majority vote. It is represented by its President who signs any document and reads their reports to the General Assembly.
A branch of the Foundation can be established in each prefecture of Crete simultaneously as the establishment of the Association if it is desired by the members of the Foundation from that county. Branches are considered the core of the Foundation. The Branch will be referred to as The Arthritis Foundation of Crete … (indicate the county). The branches operate under the same rules as the Association, and each member of the Branch is automatically a member of the Association. The decisions of the Board of the Association apply to the Branches as well. The activities of the Branches may not contravene the purposes of the Association. However, if it is within the bounds of the statutes and decisions of the Board, they may operate and engage in activities for the benefit of their members. The mode of operating the Branches and the mode of their administration and also whatever is related to the activities and operation will be determined by applying an internal regulation which will be decided at the first General Assembly of the Association for the election of the first Board. The proposal for this regulation will be made by the temporary steering committee
With the Board’s decision, there can be committees consisting of three members with an appointed President, who will deal with specific issues. The activities of the committees should serve the purpose of the statute and not contravene with its principles. The decisions of the committees are advisory in nature and are not binding on the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors on their part must carefully consider the proposals of the committees and in case they reject them, they must justify their decision. If the Chairman of a Committee believes that the issue dismissed is of a serious nature, he can introduce it for debate in the General Assembly by making a written request, following the procedure provided for, in this Statute.
With the establishment of this Association, the founding of a Scientific Committee is designated whose function is permanent and continuous. It consists of three members. Its members are appointed by the General Assembly of the Association of which at least one is from the private health professional sector. The composition of the Scientific Committee is determined every two years by the General Assembly who decides the election of the Association and its members are eligible for reelection.
Member of the Scientific Committee can be any scientist in the medical and paramedical field operating in Crete and is a member of AFC. A member of the Scientific Committee appointed by the same party can attend the Board meetings without voting rights.
Any member who reacts contrary to the aspirations and objectives of the Association, or prevents the execution of the decisions of the Board of Directors and the General Assembly, or whose behavior is inconsistent in any way with the interests of the Association, or performs any act contrary to his capacities as a member, is accountable and subject to disciplinary action.
Disciplinary penalties are a)Reprimand b)Temporary disqualification for one year, c)Final expulsion. The penalties are imposed by the Board, but the latter two do not apply if they are notratified first by the General Assembly.
In all cases, the Board must invite the member subject to disciplinary proceedings in his defense, setting a reasonable deadline for this, by written invitation.
The Association has a round seal that peripherally indicates the full title of the Association, namely Syllogos Reumatopathon Kritis “Arthritis Foundation of Crete”, year of establishment and the distinct logo of the AFC, in the center.
Amendment to the Constitution occurs whenever the General Assembly decides. The decision for amendment is taken by 2/3 of the members present. For the Assembly to have quorum so that it can make amendments, at least half plus one member of those registered and have paid their dues, must be present. The decision to amend the Constitution can be taken by a regular or special General Assembly at which the proposal to amend, add or remove an article is made. Then a precise date for the adoption of the amendment is set which cannot be longer than 30 (thirty) days.
Proposal for amendment of the Constitution may be made by the Board of Directors after its unanimous decision, following a proposal of all its operating Branches, or following the written proposal of the 2/3 of members of good standing financially of the Association, which will bear the signatures of all. The proposal is delivered to the Board of Directors who are obliged to bring it to the General Assembly at the latest in 30 (thirty) days as a priority
The dissolution of the Association takes place if its members become fewer than 20, or if the General Assembly of the Association decides on it. This decision must be taken by ¾ of the members present at the meeting, at which there must be at least 1/2 of the members of the Association present.
The dissolution of the operation of the Association implies the simultaneous dissolution of all other Branches without any other procedures. In the event that a Branch wishes to continue its operation, it is possible, provided that within thirty days of the decision to dissolve the Association, the Branch prepares and submits its own Constitution to the appropriate Court. In that case, the assets of the said Branch as well as ¼ of the assets of this Association will be transferred to the new Association.
In case of dissolution of the Association, all of the assets are transferred equally to legally operating Associations for the Disabled in Crete. An exception is the case mentioned in the preceding paragraph, where the so mentioned in that paragraph is applicable.
Until the first Board of Directors is elected, the Association is governed by an interim Steering Committee which has the same rights and obligations as the Board, as provided by this Constitution. The Steering Committee is elected on the date of approval of the Constitution by a simple majority vote of the members present.
The Provisional Steering Committee is obliged to conduct elections for the election of the first definitive Board of Directors and the Auditing Committee within two months of completion of the procedures for establishing the Association.
Whatever is not foreseen and for which there is no provision in this Constitution, will be regulated by the decisions made by the General Assembly.
The Constitution is composed of 21 articles, each of which was voted upon and accepted individually and as a whole by the General Assembly of the founding members and will become effective once approved by the appropriate Court of Heraklion.