Why this project?
From Gregory C. Pappas, President & Founder
When the Greek economic crisis plummeted to abysmal levels in 2012, the foundation and its thousands of North American supporters had to respond in a resounding way — just as previous generations of diaspora Greeks have done to support their motherland during past crises. Thus, Project Hope emerged, serving as a vehicle for our dynamic base of followers to raise funds and awareness for this cause — but in a unique way. We wanted to empower our supporters to leverage their creativity, talent and resources and ultimately provide much-needed humanitarian relief for the people of Greece.
Providing Hope to the people of Greece
Responding to the deteriorating conditions in Greece, in 2012 the Greek America Foundation launched Project Hope for Greece, a fundraising effort that channels the power of our constituents and supporters.
Project Hope for Greece encourages our followers to get involved with philanthropy through fundraising and awareness programs which aim to bring hope to the people of Greece while supporting the country’s most vulnerable populations.
The project aims to inspire philanthropy among North Americans through grassroots fundraising for deserving individuals and accredited charitable organizations in Greece.
Project Hope capitalizes on the power of people and their ideas and encourages them to host an event or fundraiser that suits their personality, talent or skill.
In order to maintain utmost transparency with our donors, especially those who feel uneasy about donating to foreign charities, we’ve created a transparent process for sending funds to organizations and individuals in Greece.
Our current campaigns
Throughout Greece’s contemporary history, children have always been the victims most impacted by war, poverty and social unrest and throughout these extreme moments, the Greek diaspora, particularly in North America, has always responded in a resounding way.
The #ChildrenOfGreece campaign aims to build a sense of awareness among North Americans about the challenges faced by the most vulnerable members of Greek society — the children.
The Greek America Foundation has partnered with five Greece-based charities whose work directly impacts all facets of children in Greek society — from birth, all the way through their developing years.
Click below to learn more about this campaign and to get involved.
Dipla Sou: LGBTIQI+ Helpline
Under the chairmanship of the Honorable Dean Trantalis, Mayor of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, we’ve launched an awareness and fundraising campaign to support Greece’s LGBTQI+ Helpline 11528 – By Your Side.
The line, used by more than 1,000 people annually, is served by teams of psychologists to help young Greeks in crisis with sexual and gender identity issues. The line also provides support to teachers, parents and family members on how to approach such matters.
Suicide rates amongst LGBTQI+ teens in Europe are staggeringly high, with estimates in countries like Greece, Italy and Spain — where the church plays a significant role in affairs — considerably higher.
Greece’s helpline has helped thousands of people overcome crisis situations and is a critical social welfare organization that requires more than $100,000 in annual funding. The funds are necessary to secure professional psychologists to answer phone calls and host face-to-face sessions with people in need of support.
Alex Patelis, chief economic advisor to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, recorded a special video message to express his support for our cause.
Click here to learn more about our Circle of Support and how to get involved. To make a one-time donation or set up recurring donations, click below.
Project Hope has consisted of various mini-campaigns over the years. Thanks to the philanthropy and creativity of our members and supporters, this project has raised more than $750,000 for reputable charitable organizations and individuals doing important work to alleviate the crisis in Greece.
Mama Maria of Samos
When the refugee crisis hit her island of Samos, this selfless woman known as “Mama Maria” cooked thousands of meals for helpless people. In 2015 she transformed her taverna into a make-shift shelter, feeding dozens at a time and laying out blankets at night for those who couldn’t find shelter.
The Greek America Foundation facilitated a six-month program with funds we raised from donors, including a $10,000 grant from the Philoptochos Society of Saints Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, IL. These funds enabled Mama Maria to keep her pantry full so she could keep cooking.
Video: Meet Mama Maria
Lesvos Fishermen: Thanos & Kostas
Thanos Marmarinos and Kostas Pinteris — two fishermen from a tiny village on Lesvos — were among the Greek islanders thrust into the center of the worst refugee crisis Europe has experienced in generations.
For much of 2015 and 2016, the pair stopped fishing for fish and instead became part of an integral team of average people saving lives by plucking children and helpless people from the waters off the coast of their idyllic village.
In January 2017, the island experienced a massive snowstorm that destroyed their fishing boats — their sole livelihood.
In coordination with the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, an anonymous donor gave the funds to fully repair the two damaged fishing boats, allowing Thanos and Kostas to reclaim their livelihoods and return to fishing.
2017 Vrysa Earthquake Victims
In June 2017 a devastating earthquake hit the island of Lesvos, destroying hundreds of buildings and the homes of dozens of families — the same families who had already sacrificed much of their livelihood during the massive influx of refugees that began in 2015.
Just weeks later, Greek America Foundation staff traveled to the devastated village of Vrysa to see the damage firsthand and discuss with local officials how to properly allocate almost $80,000 of funds raised.
Our Lesvos Emergency Fund provided school supplies and book bags for 37 school-aged children
Our relief fund also supported 40 Vrysa families with monthly food stipends between $80 and $120, depending upon family size, in the form of vouchers from a local super market
And hosted a holiday party and Vasilopita cutting celebration for 50 children from the village and their parents where each child received a gift certificate from a local toy store.
Support for various Greek charities
The Greek America Foundation’s 2020 Greek America Corps volunteer team announced a $5,000 Project Hope for Greece grant to Kivotos Tou Kosmou (Ark of the World) Aegean during an August 2020 visit to the organization’s facility on Chios island.
In December 2019, the Greek America Foundation sent a $10,000 grant to SOS Children’s Villages Greece that was facilitated by the Canada-based Reaching for the Stars Children’s Foundation.
Greek America Foundation Founder & President Gregory Pappas and Chairman of the Board of Directors Manos Sifakis presented a $5000 check for the non-profit Kivotos Tou Kosmou (Ark of the World) in Athens in 2019.
In April 2019, we rewarded $5,000 grants each to two charities — HOPEgenesis and METAdrasi – both of which greatly support the well-being of children in Greece.
Greek America Foundation supporters Lea Soupata and her husband Sotiris Zervoulias presented a check for $5,000 to Desmos in 2014.
Ambassadors of Hope
Ambassadors of Hope are the individuals without whom Project Hope would not have been possible. These supporters are those who went above and beyond to support this project by either donating or raising $1000 or more.
Marina Tsirambidis from Ohio made a charitable donation with part of the gift money she received upon graduating from high school in 2019.
Nora Presti and Anthie Zairis organized a Taverna Night in Baltimore.
Steve Kriaris and Thalia Wine created a $1 per bottle promotion in Ontario.
George Psomas (left) hosted his birthday party for Project Hope.
Katina and Chris Tsarnas hosted a party at Souvlaki GR in New York City.
Melina Kanakaredes and Peter Constantinides, longtime supporters of the Greek America Foundation.
16-year-old budding filmmaker Vasili Manikas and his brother Dimitri made a short film whose box office proceeds raised $4000 for Project Hope.
Become an Ambassador of Hope
Become an Ambassador in two different ways.
1) Donate a minimum of $1000. Click below to make your donation and join our list of 2019-21 Ambassadors.
2) Raise a minimum of $1000. How you do it is up to you; you can host an event at home or virtually or even launch a fundraiser to mark a special occasion such as a birthday. If you’re a business owner, you can organize fundraisers around product launches or promotions. Click below to complete our form and share your contact information and fundraiser plan.
Make a donation
Donate any amount to our Project Hope for Greece #ChildrenOfGreece fund which currently supports five children’s charities in Greece. If you would like your donation to be earmarked for a particular charity, please specify this detail when you complete our donation form.