Stephanopoulos, Wilson, Vardalos Feature in THI’s Virtual Gala for Greek Crisis Relief

Thousands of Greeks and philhellenes from all around the world will tune in this Thursday, November 12, to watch and participate in a celebrity-filled gala event and auction hosted by The Hellenic Initiative in support of Greek causes.

The auction and virtual 2020 Gala is aiming to raise awareness and provide crisis relief for Greek businesses and entrepreneurs who took an economic hit from the pandemic this year.

Participants can help by donating items to be sold in an online auction running through Thursday, November 12 at 7 pm EDT / 12 midnight GMT.

The auction kicks off in advance of The Hellenic Initiative’s (THI) 8th Annual Gala on November 12, which will be virtual for the first time ever, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

THI has organized luxurious and enticing auction items that, particularly this year, focus on giving to those in need.

Visit auction website here for art, jewelry, fashion, home, spirits, food, and luxury destinations.

Visit auction website here for pledges to aid in hunger relief, health and social welfare support, and vocational training programs.

Celebrity-filled event

The event, which will be hosted by Greek performer and television personality Sakis Rouvas, will include special performances and messages from:

· Rita Wilson, Greek American actress, singer, songwriter, and producer;

· Christos Mastoras, lead singer of Melisses, the popular Greek rock band;

· Monika, one of Greece’s most acclaimed indie artists;

· The Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra, featuring young Greek musicians;

· Nia Vardalos, Greek-Canadian actress, screenwriter, director, and producer;

· George Stephanopoulos, Greek-American television host and commentator;

· Peter Diamandis, Greek-American founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE   Foundation;

· His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America;

· Diane Kochilas, Greek American cookbook author, celebrity chef, and cooking school owner.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will also send a message to the audience.

“Incredible response”

“We have had an incredible response from members of the Greek Diaspora and philhellenes around the world,” THI Executive Director Peter Poulos told Greek Reporter.

He noted that THI had organized several galas in support of Greek causes in the last several years, but as he pointed out, this time around it was different organizing a virtual event.

“We were in uncharted waters, but people showed enormous support Poulos said. “Until now (Monday), THI has raised $1.3 million and we are on course to meet our target of $1.5 million by Thursday,” he added.

“Many Greeks, wherever they are, have a passionate commitment to supporting their homeland. Our Annual Gala is simply a vehicle for Greeks to raise funds that help the place from which they came.”

Helping the Greek tourism industry

Poulos noted that although many countries across the globe were hit hard by the pandemic, Greece was particularly affected due to the collapse of the tourist industry.

“Officially tourism contributes around 25% of Greek GDP. However, more realistic estimates put this up to 40%. The pandemic travel restrictions ravaged Greece’s all-important tourism industry — a sector which is normally recession- and disaster-proof,” Poulos told Greek Reporter.

The 8th Annual Gala, titled “Radiate: The Hellenic Initiative Virtual Gala” is a call-to-action that will illuminate a Greece of innovation, strength, and resiliency by telling the business success stories of THI’s many grantees.

THI has distributed millions

Founded in 2012, THI is a global, nonprofit, secular institution mobilizing the Greek diaspora and philhellene community to support sustainable economic recovery and renewal for the Greek people.

THI’s programs address crisis relief through strong nonprofit organizations and build entrepreneurial skills in a new generation of business leaders.

Since 2012, THI has committed or distributed $5.7 million in direct crisis relief and $10.1 million in economic and entrepreneurial development.

Tickets for the event

Replacing the in-person fundraisers THI has hosted over the previous seven years in New York, and four years in London, the ticketed event will take place on Thursday, November 12, in New York at 6 PM–7 PM EST and simultaneously in London at 11 PM–12 AM.

TO PURCHASE TICKETS

· New York Tickets: Individual $250, New Leaders $100 (21-40 years old). For U.S. sponsorship, click here.

· London Tickets: Individual £200, New Leaders £50 (21-40 years old). For U.K. sponsorship, click here.

PRESS RSVP: Virtual admission is free to credentialed members of the press. Upon acceptance, an online link will be forwarded prior to the event.