The Greek America Foundation was founded to promote and preserve, among other things, Greek ideals in North America. And we believe strongly in those ideals and preserving them. It’s why our Gabby Awards aren’t simple dinner dances but elaborate productions that celebrate our history and tell our stories. It’s why our Forty Under 40 award winners are selected based on their philanthropic activities just as much as their excellence in their professional endeavors.

Everything we do has a reason, a purpose and a passion behind it. It’s the only way we know how to operate.

When planning commenced for the “new and improved” Blue Tie Ball that emerged from the re-scheduled Blue Masque Ball that we postponed to March 22nd because of the weather conditions in Chicago, we wanted to give this event a purpose, a story. We came up with the hashtag #CelebrateGreece2014 and immediately began thinking about ways to make this event special— not just another dinner dance.

This year, we will introduce our first ever KOINONIA Community Service Awards— recognition of those organizations we believe embody the very ideals we seek to preserve as an organization.

Introducing the 2014 Koinonia Honorees.

The Hellenic American Leadership Council was founded in 2012 in Chicago and immediately made an impact on the national scene, encouraging civic involvement and enlisting tens of thousands of people to get involved in various Greek-related issues the organization undertook. Like no other organization before it, HALC took to the social networks and mobilized for causes like the freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the ongoing occupation of Cyprus and even initiated a crowd funding campaign to support Greek athletes impacted by the financial crisis whose participation in the London Games was affected. HALC will be represented that night by Endy Zemenides, its executive director.

The Greek American Motorcycle Association ranks 40 bikers and brings together men and women passionate about motorcycles while simultaneously changing the world around them. Shed that image of the big, bad biker. GAMA has raised thousands of dollars for various children’s causes throughout the Chicagoland area, including scholarships for young people to attend the Greek Orthodox Metropolis Fanari Camp and Toys for Tots. The Greek American Motorcycle Association will be represented by Nikos Karavitis.

Olympiacos Soccer Club Chicago takes the ancient Greek ideal of “sound mind sound body” to an amazing level with the seventy-plus kids involved and shares the spirit of Greece’s most popular sport with them, while teaching them sportsmanship and respect on field. In addition to the athletic training these lucky kids receive, they build a team spirit and connect regularly with one of Greece’s top soccer clubs, providing for them a relevant connection to their ancestral homeland. Olympiacos Soccer Club will be represented by Yiannis Kosmas.