Home Community The Hellenic Initiative 9th Annual New York Gala Raises over $2 Million

The Hellenic Initiative 9th Annual New York Gala Raises over $2 Million


The Hellenic Initiative’s (THI) 9th Annual Gala held at the renowned Cipriani Wall Street in NYC’s Financial District on Saturday, December 4, raised over than $2 million, which will provide continued pandemic crisis relief and help foster Greek economic recovery opportunities after months of fiscal challenges.

Co-hosted by popular Greek singer/actor Sakis Rouvas, who also performed and THI International Ambassador, Tatiana Blatnik, the glamorous event titled  “Moving Forward Together” drew more than 700 guests from all over the U.S, Canada and Europe.  

Since 2012, THI has committed or distributed $6 million in direct crisis relief and $10.7 million in economic and entrepreneurial development projects in Greece. Last year’s virtual only Gala raised more than $1.6 million.

Johnson & Johnson Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Alex Gorsky, a philhellene who was instrumental in J&J’s partnership with the THI for its ReGeneration mentorship program, Greece’s most extensive job creation program for young graduates, was this year’s honoree.

Gorsky was introduced by THI Chairman Andrew Liveris who presented him with the Prometheus Award for his commitment to Greece and its future, stating that “he is truly assisting in the revival of one of the world’s greatest civilizations”.

Accepting the award, Gorsky noted how living in Greece, during his military service, has shaped his personality and he reflected on a recent meeting with fellow colleagues Albert Bourla of Pfizer, George Yancopoulos of Regeneron and Roy Vagelos, saying that “it’s no coincidence that all of them happen to share a Greek heritage but have also played such an important role in taking on COVID-19 and hopefully helping us find a path forward”.

Being challenged to say something in Greek, Gorsky said that one of the words he remembers best is the word “σκαρφαλώνουμε” (we are climbing). “That’s exactly what this represents right now, we climb our way to COVID, we climb our way to help Greece” he said, thanking all for their commitment to THI’s mission.

Andrew Liveris, in his welcoming remarks, noted that “THI is working hard for the modern revival of Greece” and pointed out that THI recently raised donations over $700,000 from 4,200 Philhellenes from 47 countries in response to Greece’s devastating wildfires.

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros offered the invocation and congratulated THI for its programs and initiatives.

THI International Ambassador, Tatiana Blatnik, highlighted the organization’s programs including wildfire relief, job creation through the ReGeneration and support for farmers, and Dr. Peter Diamandis spoke about his XPrize Foundation’s worldwide competition to find a way of detecting wildfires seconds after they spark.

THI Executive Director Peter Poulos noted that this year’s event proved challenging for a lot of reasons and THI Executive Committee member Michael Psaros noted that “what we have accomplished Ολοι μας μαζί  (All of us together) over the last  nine years is truly extraordinary and we only gotten started”.

A short video narrated by Fr. Alex Karloutsos honored both the heroes of the past as well as the heroes of the present as they are fighting against economic crisis, Covid-19 or the wildfires.  

Attendees included Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Alexandra Papadopoulou, Deputy Minister of Health Zoe Raptis, Consul General of Greece in NY Konstantinos Koutras and his wife Popita Pavli, Consul General of Cyprus Michalis Firillas, Consul of Greece, Dimitris Papageorgiou, AHEPA Supreme President, Jimmy Kokotas, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, Atlantic Bank President, Nancy Papaioannou, ALMA Bank President Michael Psyllos, businessmen Dennis Mehiel, Mike Manatos, John Koudounis, Achilles Constantakopoulos, Michael Bapis, George and Pantelis Pantelides.