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The Hellenic Initiative’s 7th Annual Gala Raises More Than $2.3 Million!
The Hellenic Initiative’s (THI) 7th Annual Gala held in New York City on Friday, September 27 raised more than $2.3 million, making it the most successful fundraising event in the Greek Diaspora globally, according to THI President George Stamas. More than 850 guests attended from the U.S., Canada, UK, Europe, and Australia. The event honored the work of The Coca-Cola Foundation.
“This year’s Gala was our best ever and it is a testament to the enthusiasm and dedication of the Greek Diaspora who want to connect to and support the Greek homeland,” said THI Executive Director Peter Poulos.
Now in its seventh year, THI has provided grants of more than $15 million to support its twin missions of building entrepreneurial programs that help keep talented young Greeks from leaving the country and providing crisis relief for underserved communities in Greece, particularly children
During the Gala, THI and The Coca-Cola Foundation announced a new $1 million donation to ReGeneration, Greece’s largest internship program, which has engaged with more than 400 companies. The Coca-Cola Foundation, The Hellenic Initiative, and the Coca-Cola Company are founding donors of ReGeneration.
“This $1 million donation represents an intensified commitment to ReGeneration,” said Poulos. “It will be used to help alleviate tragic unemployment in Greece by creating 1,000 more jobs beyond the 1,100 already generated by the program.” He noted that the grants will be distributed over the next three years.
“The ReGeneration program helps to keep the best and brightest here in Greece,” Poulos said, “and turns the nation’s brain drain, into a brain gain. We look forward to the day when thousands of educated citizens no longer feel the need to leave Greece for opportunities abroad.”
ReGeneration is not just an internship program, but a holistic career development program that offers six-month paid employment to young graduates, along with mentoring, professional training and development, and community service opportunities with NGO partners.
More than 85 percent of ReGeneration participants have secured full-time employment through the program, and 6,000 young people each year receive customized developmental feedback, strengthening their ability to get a job.
Young beneficiaries of the ReGeneration program who spoke at the Gala include:
- Yannis Lagiopoulos, EHSQ Analyst, Imerys. A geologist by training, Yannis participated in the ReGeneration program and received an offer from Imerys, a French multinational company which specializes in the production and processing of industrial minerals. Yannis was promoted after six months and currently is in charge of programs within Greece and in other countries.
- Evi Barouda, HR Assistant, The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. After completing her studies in the U.K., Evi received offers to work there, but wanted to return to her native Greece. Working with ReGeneration, she received an offer at Janssen in human resources, her preferred field of interest. Currently, she is helping to coordinate the company’s recruitment efforts and, in a happy turn of events, is actively interviewing and hiring other “ReGenerators.”
Founded in 2012, THI is a global, nonprofit, secular institution mobilizing the Greek Diaspora and Philhellene community around the world to support sustainable economic recovery and renewal for the Greek people. THI’s programs build entrepreneurial skills in a new generation of business leaders and also address crisis relief through strong nonprofit organizations.