Event honored George D. Behrakis, John Pappajohn, and Peter G. Peterson.
New York.- Photos: Dimitrios Panagos
The Hellenic Initiative’s (THI) Second Annual Banquet on Wednesday night raised $2.293 million, making it one of the most successful fundraising initiatives ever within the Greek-American community. Focused on the theme, “Investing in the Future of Greece,” the banquet was attended by several Greek government representatives, including Notis Mitarachi, Vice Minister for Development & Competitiveness and Greek Ambassador to the United States, Christos Panagopoulos, as well as prominent members of the Greek-American community, including master of ceremonies Arianna Huffington, Ambassador John Negroponte, and several newly appointed Board members.
Notis Mitarachi spoke about “the new economic reality” in Greece and noted the comparative advantages the country has in vital sectors of the economy like tourism and primary production.
“My country is fighting a good fight”, Ambassador Panagopoulos said, stressing the effort of the Greek government to create “a new Greece” and correct mistakes of the past.
The event honored three outstanding individuals for their lifetime of entrepreneurship and philanthropy: George D. Behrakis, Founder, The Behrakis Foundation; John Pappajohn, Founder, Pappajohn Capital Resources; and Peter G. Peterson, Founder and Chairman, Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
John Papajohn announced a $500,000 donation to the Hellenic Initiative and $100,000 for Greek start-ups and told the participants of the events to speak of the goods efforts of Greece and not the negatives. Meanwhile he encouraged them to help Greece and if they can, to help their relative to open up a business.
Last year’s event was addressed by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, while this year a message by former U.S. president Bill Clinton, honorary member of the organisation, was read at the banquet about the contributions of Greek-Americans to the country.
THI also reaffirmed its commitment to the promotion of a culture of entrepreneurship in Greece with a $500k contribution and $500k match from THI to expand upon its current entrepreneurial programs. This program will strengthen THI’s efforts to help entrepreneurs develop their businesses ideas.
Since its founding in 2012 by Andrew N. Liveris, Muhtar Kent, George David, George M. Logothetis, and George Stamas, 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. In the past year, the organization has supported Greek startups with its second annual Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award, contributed over $1.6 million to programs focused on Crisis Relief, created 50 paid internships through ReGeneration, and developed a visionary and aggressive set of programs focused on ensuring a strong future for Greece.
About The Hellenic Initiative:
The Hellenic Initiative (THI) is a global, nonprofit and non-governmental institution, whose vision is to mobilize the Greek diaspora and the philhellene community to invest in the future of Greece through programs focused on crisis relief, entrepreneurship and economic development:
Crisis relief – supporting high impact non-profit organizations that are providing a critical safety net to families affected by the economic crisis.
Entrepreneurship – building a new generation of business and civic leaders and helping them nurture good ideas into viable businesses and social ventures.
Economic development – mobilizing investment capital to get Greece’s economy moving again while charting a path to long-term prosperity.
Oli Mazi – All Together we can ensure an enduring, high quality of life for the people of Greece. Let us do it now, and let us do it all together.