Local priest and entrepreneur shines light on the business of religion

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By Renee Plant, Contributing Writer

Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Lemelson Photo/submitted
Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Lemelson
Photo/submitted

Southborough – Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Lemelson has combined his business skills with his calling to serve God by bringing light to others through The Lantern Foundation.

The local business owner and Southborough resident founded the U.S.-based nonprofit organization in 2012, one year after being ordained as a priest. The foundation’s purpose is to support religious, charitable and educational causes. Lemelson says his focus lies within assisting organizations associated with The Ecumenical Patriarchate, one of 14 autocephalous churches that together compose the Eastern Orthodox Church.

“We have been focused in the past on one of the most ancient sees in Christianity,” he said. “It is a different culture and mindset. Bringing the principles of wise investment policy within the context of the high-trust public markets for securities in the West has perhaps made our activities unique amongst foundations.”

While The Lantern Foundation is a relatively new venture for Lemelson, the American-born Greek Orthodox priest is no stranger to developing and carrying out prosperous ideas.

Prior to his ordination, Lemelson spent 17 years as a successful entrepreneur, a role he continues to fulfill by serving as chief investment operator (CIO) of Lemelson Capital Management in Marlborough. He is also general partner of The Amnova Fund, LP, which is managed by Lemelson Capital Management. The organization was launched the same year as The Lantern Foundation, and has been named the world’s top-performing hedge fund by financial outlets such as The Wall Street Journal.

His entrepreneurial background, Lemelson says, plays an integral role in the success of The Lantern Foundation.

“Experience in business is a major benefit when it comes to allocating capital,” he said. “The opposite is also true; experience with capital allocation makes one a better businessman. However, these two circles rarely cross, as they typically involve two different personality types, [but] blurring the lines of these areas only strengthens the foundation.”

However, perhaps the most significant difference between The Lantern Foundation and other like-minded organizations lies within its funding.

“Very often, charitable organizations are focused on soliciting donations from benefactors, and they become an exceedingly good at that task [but] overlook the more important skill of developing a framework for achieving consistently high rates of return on existing capital,” he said. “This is perhaps even more so the case within ecclesiastical circles. Given this reality, The Lantern Foundation was established as a means to set an example of a different way to do things.”

While the foundation does not rely on outreach methods as a means of generating capital, Lemelson says support for the organization is certainly appreciated.

He said, “We do not actively pursue donations, but we are grateful for any contributions of time, talent and resources we receive.”

   For more information on The Lantern Foundation, and to find out how you can get involved, visit www.phanarion.org.