Founder & President of the Greek America Foundation
Welcome to the Greek America Foundation’s website! After a powerful decade of service as a Chicago-based organization, we’ve relocated and reincorporated in New York City since 2016. But despite our geographic location, we continue to serve the entire nation and beyond — with activities and impact in Canada, Greece and elsewhere.
I founded the Greek America Foundation because I felt it was time to get beyond the baklava. It was time to stop breaking plates, and to start breaking stereotypes.
To me, Greek heritage and ideals went beyond the “food, faith and family” that we all grew up to espouse and celebrate. No, there was more. Much more. So I created an organization with a firm mission to emphasize ideals such as philanthropy, the pursuit of excellence and innovation — all core components of the Greek existence.
The end result — an international movement that has been supported and embraced by thousands, with a core mission to impact people’s lives. We are inspired by Pericles’ quote that “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
Every single event we host and project we undertake has this core component. If it isn’t going to be impactful on people, we won’t do it. We don’t need to have another dinner dance just for the sake of having another dinner dance or just because it’s done annually.
Whether it’s our scholarships which send students to Greece for semester-long transformative experiences or our epic Gabby Awards weekends, everything we do has a purpose and a story, and we invite you to be a part of the story called Greek America.
The Greek America Foundation is a New York state-based non-profit organization founded to promote, preserve and perpetuate Greek culture, history and ideals. The organization’s roots go back to Pittsburgh, PA where the founder, Gregory C. Pappas, was born and raised and first got involved in various aspects of Greek American community life.
Following years as a Chicago based organization, the headquarters are now in New York City with a renewed and reinvigorated mission.
The Greek America Foundation’s emphasis remains on the power of bringing people in closer touch with Greek heritage and ideals. And academics play a major role. Our Semester in Athens scholarships were first granted in 2009 and since, dozens of students have benefited from a life-changing experience of studying at a U.S.-accredited institution of higher learning in the heart of the ancient Greek capital city.
In addition to these scholarships, a very successful Fellowship program evolved, giving college graduates an opportunity to spend a year in Greece following a career-based program. Together with Libra Group, we helped create an internship program that has sent dozens of students to important career-centric internships in all corners of the globe. That program has since continued and continues to impact lives — not only the students’ lives but the lives of their families and communities.
We’ve launched several projects from our desire to commend those who pursue excellence in all they do. The Gabby Awards and the Forty Under 40 Awards have since become the community’s pinnacle of achievement, not to mention important cultural events that have brought thousands of people in touch with their heritage.
In response to the deepening financial and humanitarian situation in Greece, in 2013 we launched Project Hope for Greece to support worthwhile charities assisting those in need. Taking advantage of the power of our grass-roots constituents, we created a program that enables people in all corners of the continent to make a difference.
Dozens of athletes have raised thousands of dollars for our Project Hope campaign by joining Team Greek America, our virtual fundraising team consisting of various athletes such as runners, bikers, swimmers, skaters and others.
In the summer of 2017, we launched Greek America Corps, our annual volunteer program which has since sent dozens of young North Americans to volunteer with our accredited charity partners in Greece.
As we venture deeper into the 21st century and into a fifth generation of Greeks in North America, the challenges that lie ahead are greater. Many have argued that Hellenism in America faces an existential crisis of being blended — and completely lost — into the fabric of North American culture.
We believe otherwise. Our newfound assimilation in our respective nations gives us an opportunity to not only be good Americans, or good Canadians, but also to be better Greeks by showcasing and sharing with the world what these ideals mean to us and how they are relevant in society.
We welcome the challenge and together are happy and honored to create Greek America — a place that can live in everyone’s heart and mind!