Returning from a pilgrimage to Mount Athos in 2014, a Greek American sought to make a donation. The process was not easy and it was not tax-deductible. Two years later, he returned to the Holy Mountain. In a chance visit to one of the monasteries, he was approached by the monk in charge of administration for that monastery. Their discussion turned to the looming financial challenges they would face given the economic crisis in Greece.
This inspired him to contact the Membership Secretary for the Americas of the Friends of Mount Athos(FoMA). They met in person six months later to start an American foundation – Mount Athos Foundation of America. MAFA was incorporated in December 2016 and received approval from the IRS as exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) in April 2018.