The Hellenic Initiative and the Hellenic American Leadership Council’s Efforts to Help Greece Are a Study in Community Dynamics

By on August 8, 2015

It’s a case of two organizations— each with a Greek American base and each trying to help Greece.

One is a community-based organization called the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), founded in Chicago and the other is called The Hellenic Initiative (THI), founded and run by some of the wealthiest and most successful men in the world.

The HALC is in touch with its army of supporters via tens of thousands of followers on Facebook and email lists and knows how to use social media.

The THI is big on names and titles but small on vision and out of touch with the masses. Their social media outreach is negligible and their messaging is in the clouds— where many of its CEO-board members live and work.

The HALC launched a campaign via crowd-funding to raise badly-needed money for SOS Children’s Villages in Greece. In a few days and with the use of two challenge grants by The Jaharis Foundation and Nikos Mouyiaris, the campaign is on the way to reach its $200,000 goal.

The THI has stumbled at $6000 from a few dozen supporters for a similar crisis relief crowd-funding campaign while even getting the support from Nia Vardalos, who shot a video for the campaign that hasn’t even been viewed a thousand times yet.

Even with the power of celebrity (even the word celebrity is questionable for an actress who in reality is a one-hit wonder who actually belongs on VH1’s “Where Are They Now?”)… The Hellenic Initiative hasn’t been able to penetrate the grass roots community.

And herein lies the problem.

From its founding, the THI has been an elitist movement of wealthy CEOs who host lavish dinners and travel the world— NOT reaching the heart and soul of the community, but instead going after those (usually men) who have hefty bank accounts.

In the world of crowdfunding, real social influencers aren’t the CEOs… It’s people with a vision and a voice, with an opinion and a following. These people usually aren’t heading a company— they’re usually heading a community, or organizing on the ground, with the eyes and ears of thousands of people.

Perhaps this will be a wake up call to The Hellenic Initiative— a potentially worthwhile organization which was quick out of the starting block with a meeting in Athens with Bill Clinton himself (which hardly anyone even heard about)… but has largely fizzled in the process.

Greece needs help and the leaders of The Hellenic Initiative— CEOs of some of the largest companies of the world and a serious network of powerful people— are in the position to do something.

But if they are turning to the community to support their cause, they need first to be in touch with that community.

Right now, they— like our politicians in Washington DC— are out of touch with those they strive to serve and work with.

If the Hellenic Initiative wanted to raise $1 million for Greece’s charities, as they have launched in their crowd funding campaign— perhaps they should have asked each of their millionaire and billionaire board members to pitch in a hundred thousand or so and spare themselves of the embarrassment of a failed crowd-funding campaign.


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