“Connecting Generations”: The National Hellenic Museum 2018 Gala
At its Annual Gala, “Connecting Generations,” this past May, at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, The National Hellenic Museum and more than 500 Greek Americans, friends and community members from across the country raised more than $800,000 during the night of auctions, live music, dancing and celebrating the legacy of Hellenism. The philanthropic support from the evening is set to benefit tens of thousands of museum visitors, with 83 cents of every dollar spent on programming.
“What a wonderful night it was with so many elegant attendees, the spectacular live music, and of course, the great generosity of our donors,” said Dr. Laura Calamos, President of the National Hellenic Museum. Celebrity emcee Dean Richards of WGN TV and Radio, thanked the mothers in the room, recalling the importance of his own mother and yiayia to his upbringing. Cubs Legend and National League All-Star, Ryan Dempster wowed the crowd by offering signed jerseys to bidders in the live auction. One attendee exclaimed: “The dance floor was packed with 10 lines of Greek dancing circling all around! This was definitely one of the best galas to date!”
One highlight of the evening included the presentation of the inaugural Alec K. and Viena P. Gianaras Philanthropy Award, given this year to The Gianaras Family and Frank S. Kamberos, in recognition of donors who have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the National Hellenic Museum and to the ideal of philanthropy. The National Hellenic Museum Philanthropy Award is named after Alec K. and Viena P. Gianaras because they exemplified all the aspects of true philanthropists. Their vision in supporting the National Hellenic Museum modelled to others the spirit of giving to great causes in the Greek American community.
The event was emceed by WGN’s Very Own Dean Richards with live musical stylings by the Chris Sarlas Orchestra, with George Dimas and Voula Karahaliou, and The Levendes, featuring singer Nikos Koutras.
Boasting a rich repository of 20,000+ artifacts, photos, historic newspapers, books and an archive of 450+ recorded histories, the NHM serves as the physical hub of Greek American history, now many generations strong and celebrates the mosaic of the Greek diaspora, immigrant journeys and the breadth of the American experience.
The Museum preserves the largest collection of artifacts and oral histories dedicated to the Greek American story anywhere in the world, serving as a central repository for researchers, teachers and students of all ages. Special events help to fund classes, field trips, tours, programs, and, as highlighted in this year’s theme, the protection of the museum archives and the important memories preserved for all. The artifacts in the NHM Collections serve as a crucial component of NHM’s educational outreach.
Located in Chicago’s Greektown, the NHM provides lifelong learning for the whole community. Exciting and thought-provoking exhibitions draw from thousands of years of Greek history and culture, including immigration. Rooted in all things Greek, as well as universal, they offer visitors a better understanding of the Hellenic story and inspire them to connect with their own history and culture.
The core exhibition expands on the legacy of Greek immigration. Enriched by artifacts from the collections, it narrates the journey across the Atlantic, tracing the difficult path to becoming American. This exhibition also sheds light on important chapters of American history, and highlights the contributions of Greeks and other immigrants to the building of the United States.
The special Exhibitions explore a variety of topics that offer multiple perspectives on Greek culture, history, art, and a deep thriving and evolving heritage.
For more information on the museum and its activities, their website is nationalhellenicmuseum.org.