Accounting and delicious food are not two words that often go hand in hand, but every October, the irresistible aroma of Greek food and the toe-tapping tempos of traditional Greek music overtake the grounds of the Holy Trinity + Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral in downtown Birmingham. Where does Borland Benefield fit in? Their Nonprofit Audit Group has worked with the church to ensure that everything on the financial side is in tip-top form.
Borland Benefield formed the Nonprofit Audit Group in 1994 to provide professional accounting and auditing services to nonprofit organizations. Among their many nonprofit clients are Holy Trinity + Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral and their beloved Greek Food Festival.
A Storied History
Holy Trinity + Holy Cross’ story began in 1906 when one hundred members of the Greek Orthodox community purchased a small building previously occupied by Simpson Methodist Episcopal Church. Holy Trinity + Holy Cross has grown considerably since its inception, allowing its members to better serve the Birmingham community. One of those members is Jimmy Cosmas, Festival co-chairman and Treasurer on Parish Council Board.
“I’ve been a member of the Holy Trinity + Holy Cross parish all my life,” Jimmy says, “and I’m not sure I can picture who I’d be without its influence on me and my family. My father taught Sunday school lessons here, and my mother was part of the Philoptochos Society.”
Even though he is driven by his dedication to faith, family, and community, he can’t ignore that there are some elements of the Holy Trinity + Holy Cross’ Parish Council Board that must be run like a business. That’s where Borland Benefield comes in.
Borland Benefield and Holy Trinity + Holy Cross
“Holy Trinity + Holy Cross has partnered with Borland Benefield since before I started serving on the Parish Council Board,” Jimmy recounts. “We weren’t satisfied with the previous CPA firm, so we began searching for a suitable replacement.”
That search ended with Jeffrey Chandler and Borland Benefield’s Nonprofit Audit Group.
“We were thrilled to find an accounting firm so invested in our affairs,” says Jimmy. “Benevolent organizations don’t have much in terms of wealth, but Borland Benefield still makes it a point to serve us and others like us. Working with Jeff and Shannon is always a pleasure.”
Shannon Fitzwater, a Borland Benefield Staff Accountant, oversees the financial needs of Holy Trinity + Holy Cross. She visits every month, like clockwork, to ensure everything runs smoothly.
That dedication to nonprofits serves Holy Trinity + Holy Cross well, especially when the church throws one of Alabama’s biggest and most widely-acclaimed food festivals.
Great Food for Great Causes
The Birmingham Greek Food Festival began in 1972 when the Ladies’ Philoptochos Society envisioned a way to spread awareness of Greek culture while raising money for charity.
Now in its 49th year, the Festival draws crowds from all over central Alabama to the church’s grounds at 307 19th St. S in Birmingham.
Careful planning and budgeting are vital since parishioners and volunteers cook, on average, more than 30,000 meals over the festival’s three-day window. Menu items include freshly prepared authentic Greek dishes, including souvlakia pastichio, Greek chicken, spanokopeta, dolmathes, veggie plates, Greek salad, and gyros. No meal is complete without a choice of homemade Greek pastries, including baklava, kourambethes, melomakarana, koulourakia and more.
In addition to the authentic Greek food, the event includes a large helping of Greek culture in the form of traditional music and dancers of all ages performing all three days.
Borland Benefield also helps during this busy period, ensuring all of Holy Trinity + Holy Cross’ expenses are audited and accounted for. That allows Holy Trinity + Holy Cross to focus on what matters: raising money and awareness for good causes.
“This year, we’re donating the Greek Food Festival’s earnings to Children’s of Alabama and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama,” Jimmy says. “Having a dedicated accounting firm at our backs means those charities can stay at the forefront of our minds.”
Serving so They Can Serve
This year’s Festival is set to be bigger, better, and more delicious than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic might have slowed down Holy Trinity + Holy Cross for a time, but nothing can halt their desire to serve our community–and Borland Benefield is proud to help.
The 49th Birmingham Greek Food Festival
October 13-15, 2022
10:30 am – 9:30 pm
307 19th Street South
Birmingham, Alabama 35233