A message from Anthony Liveris, THI New Leaders’ inaugural Chairman
In July, you can’t walk a block in Athens without sweating through your shirt. Locals prefer a ferry ride to Hydra, the “Hamptons of Athens.” Yet I was stuck in the Hilton, sweating away, listening to twenty young entrepreneurs paint distinct visions for their country at a conference of The Hellenic Initiative.
The Hellenic Initiative (THI) is a global not-for-profit that invests in entrepreneurial programs based in Greece, lending additional support to local NGOs that support economic development and crisis relief for underserved Greek communities. We’ve also helped fund so many things that make me feel proud, though there is always more to do. We’ve gotten 2.1 million meals working with partners like IOCC and SOS Children’s Villages Greece, vaccinated over 10,000 children, helped 1,000 women in receiving testing (ultrasounds, mammograms etc.) and worked against hospital-acquired diseases found in Greek public hospitals. Last year, I was voted by my peers as the inaugural Chairman of “New Leaders” an honor and a challenge. “New Leaders” mirrors similar activities and programs of the mother organization, but we are much more flexible in our engagement model.
One aspect of my leadership where I know I’ve made a difference has been organizing a micro-financing strategy for small-businesses in Athens. We are now responsible for monitoring events and engaging individuals to donate $2500 – $5000. At the Venture Fair at the Athens’s Hilton we focused on micro-loans to various small and medium sized businesses that are currently based and operating in Greece. We focus on agricultural companies, manufacturing, importing and exporting, light and heavy industries, and the hospitality sector. In the end, we funded eleven strong ideas, and highlighted five young entrepreneurs.
I believe there is no set checklist when it comes to Greek identity. Anyone with ancestry from or even just love for the country can claim a part of the heritage. This is inherent in the Philhellenic culture I consider myself an inheritor and a part of. The intergenerational transfer of authority is one of the ways service organizations must manage to successfully fulfil their missions. I am proud to have been a part of this transfer, which inherently creates a more collaborative organization. As new leaders, it’s our responsibility to create an organism that outlives the ego (the Greek word for “I”) and to help a country and culture that have given the world—and me— so much.
The Hellenic Initiative (THI) New Leaders are an international group of like-minded professionals 21-45 years of age who actively believe in investing in the future of Greece through direct philanthropy and economic revitalization. New Leaders are Greeks and Philhellenes of the Diaspora who are passionate about working together (Oli Mazi) to fundraise, donate their time, resources, skills and expertise in helping to build a better future for Hellas.