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Inaugural Fundraiser for the New York Chapter Heritage Greece a Great Success!
The New York Chapter Heritage Greece of the National Hellenic Society recently held its inaugural Casino Night at the Plandome Golf Country Club in New York with great success! More than $110,000 was raised and as a result this year’s number of students visiting Greece will double. In 2019, Heritage Greece celebrated its 10-Year Anniversary and so far The National Hellenic Society has sent over 400 young adults to Greece for a two-week cultural immersion program. The New York event was the initiative of Dr. John Frankis of Plandome, NY and a group of dedicated friends who formed the organizing committee that underwote it: Nick Pashalis, Stavros Spucces, Demetri Belesis, Paul Tsoumpariotis and Niko Katopodis.
“In the spring of 2018, while volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, my daughter Lia was told about Heritage Greece from a past participant,” explained Mr. Frankis to NEO magazine. “She applied and was happily off to Washington DC and Greece that summer. Unlike her previous trips to Greece, this was an educational-based trip where she got to learn about politics, history, archeology, language and, of course, Greek dancing.”
More than educational, however, the trip was a wonderful experience in general for Lia and she made sure to communicate it to her parents and friends. “Her happiness and enthusiasm for the program led to my decision to try and give back,” says John Frankis. “As a program similar to Birthright Israel, it seemed unfair that we can only send 60 Greek American kids a year. I reached out to Demetri Rhompotis of NEO magazine, who put me in touch with the National Hellenic Society Chairman Drake Behrakis. After speaking to Drake multiple times and learning about Heritage Greece, I decided to form a committee to underwrite a fundraising event. Nick Pashalis, Stavros Spucces, Demetri Belesis, Paul Tsoumpariotis, along with Nick Katopodis, were quick to help. We then held a charity Casino Night that resulted in almost $110,000 being awarded to Heritage Greece.” According to Frankis, “with Drake Behrakis’ and Art Dimopoulos’ leadership, they were able to double the amount of sessions for this coming summer of college students able to attend Heritage Greece.”
As much of an accomplishment as that is, there is room for the program to grow. And built on the success of the inaugural event, Dr. Frankis plans to continue raising awareness and funds. “I look forward to all Greek Americans doing their best to help keep our history, culture and language alive,” he says. “This program has been described as ‘life changing’ and ‘an experience they will never forget’. In order to expand and preserve this program we ask for your help.”
The Washington DC-based National Hellenic Society is an association of Greek American leaders, visionaries, and philanthropists who perpetuate and celebrate our rich heritage. The NHS was established to create a lasting network of Greek Americans to preserve our heritage through the sponsorship and initiation of programs that support Hellenic culture, benefit our members and their families, and honor our ancestors. NHS members represent accomplished men and women in the Greek American community, and membership is solely by invitation. As is our tradition, fellowship and enrichment are a prominent part of this society.
The organization’s purpose and interest is the perpetuation of those values and ideals that are embodied within the Hellenic heritage—classical ideas associated with ancient Greek democracy, including the pursuit of knowledge, education, the arts and civic responsibility. It also focuses on the promotion and the furtherance of Hellenic ideals through the sponsorship of scientific, educational and charitable programs. The National Hellenic Society coordinates its activities and provides financial support to other tax-exempt organizations sharing common goals.
The Society actively supports programs sponsored by universities, colleges and educational institutions throughout the U.S. that demonstrate a common interest in preserving, promoting and enjoying for posterity, education, the sciences, arts, music, culture, history, philosophy, democracy and related legacies derived from and through the ancient Hellenic era to the present.