The Hellenic Initiative’s (THI) 10th anniversary New York Gala took place on December 3rd, raising $2,248,000 to be deployed in Greece to support Greek economic and entrepreneurial development and humanitarian programs.
Since its founding, THI has become the largest Greek diaspora organization in the world, with supporters in over forty-five countries. The New York Gala, THI’s largest annual event, hosted more than eight hundred dignitaries and guests this year at Cipriani Wall Street.
Albert Bourla honored
Dr. Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer and a native son of the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, was honored at the event.
“In the years to come, science and technology will continue to lead the way, while countries that focus on innovation will see rapid, stable and, most importantly, inclusive and equitable growth in the future,” Bourla said.
“Greece has an excellent opportunity to become one of these countries and I strongly believe that the Greek diaspora can contribute to [upgrading] the innovative ecosystem of the country,” he added.
Pfizer has invested significantly in an innovation hub in Thessaloniki as a way to create opportunities for young Greeks and help reverse the brain drain of young professionals leaving Greece.
“Dr. Bourla’s and Pfizer’s commitment to Greece and the Greek people have been a triumph of generosity,” said THI Board Chairman and Co-Founder Andrew N. Liveris. “Our work at the intersection of philanthropy and economic development is creating a framework of support for Greece that will go on for generations.”
“Our THI Board, our many generous supporters, and our dedicated staff are honored to be extending a helping hand to so many in Greece,” said THI Board President and Co-Founder George P. Stamas. In accepting a special honor for THI’s ten-year anniversary, Stamas praised the commitment of his many long-serving fellow board members.
The Hellenic Initiative launches into its second decade
“The whole THI family: our Board, talented staff, donors, supporters and each person who attended brought their energy and passion to the evening and made it a great success,” said THI Executive Director Tina Courpas. “We are so grateful. THI is launching into our second decade with tremendous momentum.”
Father Alexander Karloutsos opened the evening’s presentation with a moment of prayer.
James N. Gianopulos, Ret. Chairman and CEO, Paramount Pictures, served as emcee, and Greek superstar Elli Kokkinou performed for an enthusiastic crowd. The Jimmy Vali Band provided entertainment.
Officials from Greece and the Greek American community attended, including the U.S. Ambassador in Athens, George Tsunis; the Greek Ambassador in Washington, Alexandra Papadopoulou; the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus, Marios Lysiotis; the Consul General of Greece in New York, Konstantinos Konstantinou; the Consul General of the Republic of Cyprus, Michalis Firillas; Prince Pavlos (formerly) of Greece and Denmark along with his wife, Marie Chantal; and U.S. Representative Nicole Malliotakis.
Nineteen THI Board members from the U.S., Greece, and Australia attended, including John Koudounis, Michael Psaros, and Dennis Mehiel.
Silent auction at Hellenic Initiative’s Gala
A silent auction of world-class art, jewelry, and experiences donated by Greeks from around the world contributed more than $120,000 the total funds raised.
On Friday, December 2nd, a sold-out pre-Gala celebration of the next generation of THI called THI New Leaders was held at Thalassa Restaurant in Tribeca. On the morning of Saturday, December 3rd, THI in connection with Friends of St. Nicholas, hosted over 150 THI New Leaders and Board members for a private tour of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Shrine.
Founded in 2012, THI is a global, nonprofit, secular institution mobilizing the Greek diaspora and philhellene community to support sustainable economic recovery and renewal for the Greek people.
THI has made a direct distribution of more than $20 million, sixty percent of which has been deployed into Greece’s economic development. Forty percent of this has gone into programs focused on crisis relief.