Message from Gregory C. Pappas
Welcome to the Greek America Foundation’s website! After a powerful decade of service as a Chicago-based organization, we have now relocated and reincorporated in New York City. But despite our geographic location, we continue to serve the entire nation and beyond — with activities and impact in Canada, Greece and beyond.
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 like 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 we leave behind isn't etched on the side of a building, 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.
About the Greek America Foundation
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 plays a major role. Our Semester in Athens scholarships were first granted in 2009 and since, more than a dozen 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 to all corners of the globe. That program has since continued and continues to impact lives — not only the students’ but their families and communities, as well.
Several projects were also launched around our desire to commend those who pursued excellence in all they did. 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, Project Hope for Greece was launched in 2010 to support worthwhile charities assisting those in need. Taking advantage of the power of our grass-roots constituents, we created a program that enabled people in all corners of the continent to be the difference needed to help.
As we venture deeper into the 21st century and into a fifth generation on Greeks in North America, the challenges that lie ahead are greater. Many have argued that Hellenism in America faces an existential crisis and fears being blended — and lost — completely into the fabric of North American culture.
We believe otherwise. Our newfound assimilation in our respective nations presents an opportunity to us 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 to them.
We welcome the challenge and together are happy and honored to create this place that can live in everyone’s heart and mind called Greek America!