NEW YORK – The Hellenic Initiative (THI) 9th Annual New York Gala took place on December 4, in-person after last year’s virtual-only event, raising over $2 million to provide continued pandemic crisis relief and help foster Greek economic recovery opportunities after months of fiscal challenges.
Since its founding, THI has raised USD $17 million for grants supporting NGOs and economic development projects in Greece.
The event began with a cocktail hour at at 60 Wall Street Atrium with its dramatic columns and palm trees and then the presentation, dinner and entertainment took place across the street at the renowned Cipriani Wall Street.
Andrew Liveris, THI Chairman, gave the welcoming remarks and introduced His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros who gave the invocation and spoke movingly about THI and its efforts: “Hellenes and Philhellenes recognize our sense of and need for community… it was Aristotle who said that man is a creature of the polis… the polis and the ekklesia are two sides of the same coin and to have THI as a force for the benefit of both is a considerable blessing, therefore, I commend all of you and wish for a most successful evening. It is wonderful to be in the same room again but let us never take it for granted may the Lord bless THI on behalf of Greece and Cyprus and on behalf of unifying the Hellenic Diaspora and Philhellenes around the globe.”
Liveris noted that THI Board President George Stamas could not attend due to a personal health situation, “we are thinking of him and his family. He is a hero.” Liveris then introduced a short video honoring heroes past and present, narrated by Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, highlighting the ancient heroes, those of 1821 in this bicentennial year, and the frontline workers against the coronavirus and the wildfires today.
Liveris pointed out that THI’s wildfire relief fund acted fast and 4,200 donors from 47 countries raised over $700,000 for Greece.
Greek singer Sakis Rouvas performed at the event along with the Jimmy Vali Band. Saki, as he is known to all his fans, after performing some of his greatest hits, concluded with a tribute in song to the iconic composer Mikis Theodorakis who passed away this year.
Among those present were Ambassador of Greece to the United States Alexandra Papadopoulou, Greek Deputy Minister of Health Zoe Raptis, Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras and his wife Popita Pavli, Consul of Greece Dimitris Papageorgiou, Consul General of Cyprus Michalis Firillas, Dennis Mehiel, Mike Manatos, John Koudounis, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, Stellene Volandes, Diane Kochilas, Sozita Goudouna, Aristides Logothetis, Nancy Papaioannou, advisor to the publishers of The National Herald Antonis H. Diamataris and his wife Litsa, TNH co-publishers Eraklis Diamataris and Vanessa Diamataris and her husband Matthew Dowling.