Archimedes said more than 2,000 years ago if you “Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, I can move the world.”
Symbolic in more than a conversation about physics— we want to inspire people throughout the nation and world that when given the right place to stand and the right resources, they, too, can move the world.
With these wise words, we hope to share the spirit of “moving the world” by sharing wonderful stories of philanthropic endeavor and inspiring our guests that yes, anything is possible.
During the Gabby Awards weekend, the Greek America Foundation will conclude our events with a first-ever Philanthropy Roundtable on Sunday, June 18, 2017, featuring a diverse group of people representing individual, corporate and community efforts to make the world a better place.
Philanthropy has always been one of the core ideals of the Greek America Foundation and this event will bring together examples of individuals, church communities and companies who have not only talked the talk– but walked the walk of doing their part to move the world in a positive direction.
Our purpose with the Philanthropy Roundtable is twofold— first, to showcase examples of philanthropy in action amongst Greek American individuals, corporations, organizations and communities and secondly, to inspire regular, everyday people in attendance that ANYONE can make a difference in the world around them.
With our panelists’ experience, expertise and example, we hope to give the people present the right place to stand so they too, can move the world.
Note: The brunch and Philanthropy Roundtable will take place at The Boro Hotel (38-28 27th St, Long Island City, NY) which is also one of our official hotels for the weekend. The Philanthropy Roundtable (which includes full brunch) is included with all VIP tickets and sponsor packages. This event is NOT included with General Admission tickets. Individual tickets are available for purchase, which includes full participation in the Roundtable and a full brunch. Click here to reserve your tickets.
Melanie Vangopoulos is a Greek American native New Yorker, who spent her teenage years growing up on the island of Rhodes. Having returned to the U.S. to pursue her education, she holds a B.A. in Economics and is a CFA Charterholder. Melanie has enjoyed a successful career in the world of Finance, trading and managing investments for financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase, Millennium Management and most recently, Conventus Capital.
Melanie has developed a true passion for helping others find their own greatness and live their best life possible. She’s an avid student of positive psychology, wellness, and is currently training to become a Success Coach. Having witnessed first hand the negative mindset that was crippling the Greek people as a result of the financial crisis, she felt compelled to take action. She founded a Facebook page entitled “Καθημερινή Ευγνωμοσύνη” (Daily Gratitude), where she inspires over 16,000 Greeks with motivational posts focused on gratitude and positivity.
This momentum gave way to Melanie’s recent TEDx talk in Rhodes, entitled “The Power of Gratitude: Why It’s So Important To Greece Right Now”. In her talk, she references ancient Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Plutarch, to show the Greek people that these empowering ideas are rooted in their own culture. The positive reaction from the audience has propelled Melanie to continue her mission forward. She’s currently working on an e-course and launching her own wellness brand.
Confirmed Participants thus far include:
Jimmy Athanasopoulos, Head of Social Responsibility at Libra Group, a privately-owned international business group that controls 30 subsidiaries active in 35 countries across six continents. It is focused on six core sectors: aviation, energy, finance and diversified, hospitality, real estate, and shipping.
Alexis Fasseas, who together with her mom Paula, founded PAWS Chicago, one of the largest no-kill animal welfare adoption shelters in the country. The motivation of PAWS Chicago came after the family adopted a stray terrier on the island of Crete. Today, PAWS Chicago has worked successfully to transform Chicago into a no-kill city.
Steve Kriaris, proprietor of Thalia Wine and Kolonaki Group in Toronto who helped spread awareness and raise funds for humanitarian relief programs in Greece with a $1 per bottle campaign that included bottle toppers with information about the charities in Greece where funds were going.
Cristal Munoz-Logothetis realized the heavy burden on refugee moms fleeing war and arriving on Greek islands by raft– with infants in their arms and launched Carry the Future which has sent tens of thousands of baby carriers to various refugee hotspots throughout Greece and the Balkans, helping moms navigate the harrowing journey to a better life.
Aristotle Loumis, founder of Ellison, a lifestyle sunglass company that sells handmade eyewear– made exclusively in Greece with some of the finest Italian products. Aristotle’s business model includes giving back with every purchase made by consumers and initiatives have included eye surgeries in far-away countries and funds for medical support teams. His latest initiative will take a team of young entrepreneurs to support refugee shelters in Greece, as well as homeless people in Athens.
Yanni Mangouras, chairman of Philoxenia House, a facility that offers free housing to families visiting the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota who are there for extended medical stays, surgeries or treatment. Dozens of families from Greece and through the world have been recipients of the house’s hospitality while loved ones were getting treatment at Mayo. Philoxenia House is a ministry of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago.
Linda and Susanna Manziaris, the sisters from Toronto who created an e-commerce shop of jewelry they design themselves and channel proceeds to their charity, Girls Helping Girls, which has empowered girls with the building of schools and educational empowerment programs in Jamaica, Kenya, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world.
Voula McLaughlin, a private citizen who wanted to give back to the universe in appreciation and gratitude for her own father who was a sponsored child in Greece by a Canadian family. Voula has created a movement in Toronto which has led to hundreds of thousands of dollars raised annually for SOS Children’s Villages in Greece.
Kelly Yakumithis mobilized the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Holy Trinity in Toledo, Ohio to launch a clothing drive for refugees on the island of Samos. By building a partnership with a shipping company and inspiring the young people of the community, the effort shipped dozens of boxes of badly-needed supplies.
Helen Zahos, an emergency room nurse from Adelaide, Australia who used her annual vacation leave from work to volunteer in medical tents in Greece, offering her skills to people who needed medical care. She used a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, that she took with her to Greece.