The Hellenic Initiative Raises $2 Million at Inaugural Banquet to Support Greece
At the Inaugural Banquet, marking The Hellenic Initiative’s (THI) one year anniversary, the organization raised $1.9 million, making the event one of the most successful fundraising evenings ever within the Greek-American community.
Focusing on the theme “Investing in the Future of Greece” the banquet was attended by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Athens Mayor George Kaminis and prominent members of the Greek-American community, including master of ceremonies George Stephanopoulos, former US Senator Paul
Sarbanes and several newly appointed Board members. Former President Bill Clinton addressed the event and also had a brief meeting with Prime Minister Samaras.
Three outstanding individuals were honored for their service to people of Greece: Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation; Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company; and Andrew N. Liveris, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company and one of the
“The Hellenic Initiative was created to harness the desire and energy expressed by the Greek Diaspora to help Greece in its time of need. The collective voices of a growing and very driven group of leaders in the Greek American community founded THI and the success of our inaugural banquet
is a demonstration that we can have great impact when given the opportunity to unify around a set of objectives,” said Andrew Liveris. “The attendance and funds raised is evidence that our community is again rising to the call to give back; not just in funds but also in programs that
invest in the next generation. We look forward to even more success through our new Diaspora campaign, OneGreece.org.”
Muhtar Kent, whose family originates from the island of Lesvos, encouraged guests to get involved. “This is a very personal and urgent cause for us. Greece needs our help today, not tomorrow or the day after,” he said. “As a global community we need to support the nonprofits that provide a
crucial safety net to families impacted by the crisis and promote investment and stimulus to get the economy moving again.”
The Niarchos Foundation was recognized for its leadership in providing crisis relief in Greece and as a partner to shape THI’s own humanitarian programs that have committed $1 million to local relief organizations. “It is the role of the global Greek community – in Greece and across the
Diaspora – to step up and address the ongoing crisis taking an economic and humanitarian toll on the country. Crisis relief provides a stable foundation for any effort to rebuild the Greek economy,” said Andreas Dracopoulos.
Since its founding in 2012 by Andrew N. Liveris, Muhtar Kent, George M. Logothetis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Libra Group, and George Stamas, Partner, Kirkland and Ellis LLP, The Hellenic Initiative has seen significant growth both in scale and in the support offered by the
Greek diaspora and by individual and corporate sponsors. Within the last year, the organization launched the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award, contributed a total of $1 million to programs focused on crisis relief, and developed a visionary and aggressive set of projects focused on ensuring
a strong future for Greece.
The organization also announced new ways to promote a culture of entrepreneurship and catalyze economic development. At a press conference before the banquet, George Stamas and Harry J. Wilson presented new initiatives which include:
- OneGreece.org: A global campaign to encourage the diaspora and friends of Greece to contribute to THI’s programs around relief, recovery, and renewal.
- The Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award launches new businesses through intensive mentorship, business support and seed funding. Managed by the Libra Group, which hascommitted over €5 million ($6,8 million), the program selects entrepreneurs based on demonstrated innovation, potential for job creation, financial discipline and social responsibility.
- The Hellenic Center for Entrepreneurship is a new program designed to foster more – and more successful – entrepreneurs by building the foundational skills critical to creating sustainable businesses.
- The THI Export Accelerator will focus on more established entrepreneurs ready to expand in the export markets. Starting in the food sector, the Accelerator will introduce high-performing Greek brands to potential customers in the U.S. market with the aim of increasing sales, production and job creation.
- The Hellenic Investment Fund targets a “double bottom line” of investment returns and job growth. The fund will provide growth equity to small and midsized companies that are the backbone of the Greek economy and whose success is critical to fueling its recovery. It is a standalone, for-profit fund managed by investment professionals. THI will have no management or investment authority.
- The Fellowship for a New Economy invests in human capital – the mindsets and capabilities required to shape sustainable growth over the long-term. Through the Fellowship, early-and mid-career Greek professionals will complete 12-month rotations in leading U.S. businesses, building the functional skills and mindsets to guide strategic growth in core economic sectors.
The first four winners of the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award are off to a strong are:
- Different & Different (Great Catering): it has created 13 new jobs and is serving catered meals 5 days a week through 3 corporate contracts. They are also working to enhance their product portfolio by providing cooking lessons and video tutorials.
- Rabt is now live on Apple’s App store and available for iPhone and iPad users globally. A total of 6 new jobs have been created in Greece and a PR/Marketing professional has been recruited in the US. Over 33,000 videos have been viewed by 3,000 users in less than a month.
- Casa Parlante (Corfu Living History Museum) has rented a great location and renovations are underway. Sets depicting life in the 19th century are being designed now.
- Stella Mare has transformed an empty lot into a 3 story building with state of the art filleting equipment on order. A search in underway now for a commercial director to support sales and distribution.
Founded in 2012, The Hellenic Initiative (THI) is a global, nonprofit, secular institution whose vision is to mobilize the Greek diaspora and philhellene community to invest in the future of Greece through programs focused on crisis relief, entrepreneurship and economic development. For more information, their website is thehellenicinitiative.org