CHICAGO, IL – Renowned for providing financial assistance supporting students of Hellenic descent in their U.S.-based educational endeavors, the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation announced it received a gift of 500,000 dollars – the largest to date – from the estate of the late George A. Paterakis.
A Chicago native, accomplished businessman, and philanthropist of Cretan descent, Paterakis passed away on September 1, 2014 at the age of 86. His legacy lives on, as does the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation, which has awarded almost two million dollars in academic scholarships to date.
“We are deeply grateful to Mr. Paterakis for his generous contribution which, among other things, confirms his approval and appreciation of the work of the Foundation,” said PHSF Chairman Chris P. Tomaras. “Recognizing the economic significance of this gift for the Foundation, we intend to live fully by his wishes and encourage other members of the Community to emulate Mr. Paterakis’ philanthropic act, at any level,” he added.
The gift will be named “The Georgia Sfondouris Mitchell Music and Arts Scholarship Fund,” in recognition of Mrs. Mitchell, a Paterakis family friend, remembered for her contribution of music and art to the Greek American community. Two 10,000-dollar scholarships will be offered annually in her name to students specifically pursuing music or the arts.
Another donor with a gift of the same amount has come forward, Tomaras said, and will soon be formally announced, after the details of the gift have been completed. Both gifts will be part the Foundation’s Endowment Fund, which provides benefits to both the Foundation and the donors in perpetuity.
The Foundation will this year once again award 250,000 dollars in scholarships to academically outstanding and financially deserving Greek American college students at its anticipated gala, which raises funds for the Foundation’s scholarship program and general operating expenses, and will take place at the Hilton Chicago on June 20th this year. The Foundation has recently been awarding scholarships at not one, but two levels – 20 awards of 10,000 dollars based on academic achievement and financial need, and 20 awards of 2,500 dollars based solely on academic achievement.
Launched in 2002, the PHSF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is “to promote education by providing scholarships and educational programs to Greek American students who, guided by the values of their Hellenic upbringing, have the potential to become life-long significant achievers and contribute meaningfully to society.”
The Foundation has to date awarded 264 students with a total of nearly 1.94 million dollars, while another quarter million dollars will be distributed at this year’s gala, reaching a total of almost 2.2 million dollars and 304 students awarded total in 2015.
“I feel fortunate that we have been able to help over 300 students go forward and accomplish their academic goals, thus building their foundation for their further life achievements,” Tomaras said.
Aside from academic scholarships, the PHSF sponsors the Hellenic Birthright program, an initiative which provides a unique cultural and educational experience for Greek American undergraduate students with limited financial means, ages 18-25, living in the United States, who have never visited Greece before.
The Foundation’s scholarship, programs, and mission have been supported through partnerships with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, AHEPA, and donations from a number of generous individuals.
“Regardless of the size of any donation or gift, I am personally grateful to all donors for their support,” said Tomaras, who has personally backed up the Foundation with financial support and leadership over the years.
To save seats for the upcoming PanHellenic Scholarship Awards Gala in Chicago, or to learn more about the academic scholarships and Hellenic Birthright program, visit panhellenicscholarships.org. To donate and learn more about the PHSF Endowment Fund, call the Chairman, Mr. Chris Tomaras, at 312-357-6424.