The Hellenic Initiative has launched a campaign entitled “Plant a Tree In Greece,” which aims to have a measurable positive impact on Greece by reforesting the land and restoring the livelihoods destroyed in the wildfires of 2021.
In response to the crisis in the summer of 2021, The Hellenic Initiative launched an online campaign for wildfire relief and raised over $600,000 from 4,500 donors in 47 countries.
Among the campaign’s main supporters was John Pappajohn, a native of Evia, who contributed $100,000. THI began deploying these funds by planting 2,200 trees in Evia in the areas of Rovies, Limni, and Papades. Mr. Pappajohn stated “Restoring the land and livelihoods of our homeland after this crisis is vital.”
THI continues this campaign with an ongoing global initiative in which Greeks of the diaspora and philhellenes will have the opportunity to purchase a tree for $25 to be planted in Greece. This cost will cover the planting of the tree, its care for the crucial two first years, and related sustainability efforts in Greece. All funds raised will be deployed directly in Greece for these purposes.
The program furthers THI’s dual mission: crisis relief and economic development in Greece. Trees will be planted to re-balance the natural environment from the damage of the wildfires, as well as to restore the livelihoods of bee, olive, and lemon farmers destroyed by the fires.
Plant a tree to mark a life event
Trees can be planted for any occasion, to mark a life event, or to celebrate or memorialize a loved one. Large programs of 500 trees ($12,500) or more may be customized in collaboration with THI.
THI has partnered with We4All, an award-winning non-profit organization based in Greece for the planting of trees. Formed in 2018, We4All is engaged in tree planting and other ecological initiatives in Greece, including corporate responsibility programs for companies such as Eurobank, EY, AstraZeneca, and KPMG. To date, We4All has planted 200,000 trees in Greece. The Hellenic Initiative is We4All’s exclusive diaspora organization partner.
The program has already secured its first donors. Peter and Kathryn Yatrakis have generously contributed $10,000 to the Plant A Tree campaign.
Kathryn Yatrakis, who served as the College Dean of Academic Affairs at Columbia University from 1989 to 2016 stated, “My maternal grandmother, after whom I am named, came from Adipsos in Evia, so contributing to tree planting not only in Evia but in all of Greece is an important initiative for us.”
Planting a tree in Greece offers the diaspora opportunity to help
In connection with the program’s launch, THI will host a planting event on Hymettus Mountain on May 14th. Approximately 2,000 trees are scheduled to be planted by THI’s volunteers on that and subsequent days. On July 12, THI will host a second volunteer planting event outside of Athens.
Andrew N. Liveris, THI Board Chairman, stated, “Planting a tree in Greece not only furthers THI’s dual mission of crisis relief and economic development—but it provides a way for virtually any member of the Greek diaspora globally to directly participate. We plan for the program to continue in perpetuity as an important part of THI’s work.”
George P. Stamas, THI Board President, stated, “Planting a tree in Greece is an act which simultaneously celebrates our roots and tangibly supports the country that gave us these roots. It is a powerful and iconic statement to Greece and the Greek people that THI and the Diaspora are behind you for the long term.”