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Editorial

The 50 Wealthiest and Us

The National Herald’s annual special edition – The 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America – attracts a lot of interest internationally. To be precise, it is the most widely read edition of the year. There are many people who save it as a general reference – or as a tool for connecting with people on the list in the hope of obtaining financing for their various activities, commercial or philanthropic.

I must begin by noting that the numbers are not scientific. No such list can be – not even the famous Forbes lists. Our insert relies, necessarily, on calculations based on data from other media and, in certain cases, the individuals themselves. And, of course, we realize that it is very difficult to estimate people’s precise net worth when their money is in stock or invested in a personal art collection.

The best word for the totals is ‘estimate,’ but the team works very hard and they do their best. Fortunately, some of the people on the list feel a responsibility to work with us to accurately record their net worth. Not many, however.

A second issue is that a small percentage of them have strong ties to the Greek American community.

Yes, they are of Greek origin, as is usually seen from their name, but they have moved far from their origins and roots.

We include them based on the knowledge that even among that group, somewhere inside them, to some extent, they feel their Greek blood flowing.

Somewhere inside them they know that they are ‘Greeks.’

By our estimates, their fortunes are astronomical. The first on the list (the Gores-Georgiou brothers) have $8.3 billion and the last, Dr. Albert Bourlas, has only … $30 million. It is interesting – and impressive, though, that half of them are worth at least half a billion dollars.  

These people – and there are more that we have not yet discovered, even though this year our list contains many new faces – have achieved the American dream to an amazing degree.

They achieved this with their hard work and intelligence – and with some strategic good luck.

They deserve congratulations.

Every year many readers ask us, “what do these people offer the Community, Greece, and Cyprus?”

Some of them make big donations – usually to our Church.

The rest have either not been approached, or if they have been, they have refused.

Why?

A percentage are indifferent. They ‘fish’ in bigger seas, in the wider world and society. They make very large donations to renowned institutions – museums, universities, hospitals. Some are attracted to endeavors with international scope. For others the difference is institutions with strong boards that ensure continuity, effectiveness, and transparency.

And that is the key: transparency.

Donors want to be sure that their donations will be used for the purpose for which they are given. They are busy people and do not have time to deal with details.

Those who do offer to the Community are much more connected to their roots and are moved by another, higher spirit. They are driven by their feelings.

I would not say that they are any more or less intelligent. I would characterize them as wiser, however – while they are aware of the problems of the Greek Diaspora, they decide that no one infallible, no institution is perfect.

And that in the final analysis the positives outweigh the negatives.

Again, most offer to the Church. Why?

Because they believe in its role in fostering Community cohesion – and in its sacred mission. But they are also motivated because the Church has ancient traditions, parish councils, hierarchs, and an Archbishop and Patriarch.

And as we have experienced recently, we have seen that donations run dry when their confidence in the Archdiocese's transparency is shaken. But when they are finally ‘offered’ transparency, their offerings resume – as is now the case with Archbishop Elpidophoros.

So, while it is easy to ‘blame’ them for their non-participation in the Greek Diaspora, at the same time we must examine whether we also bear part of the responsibility.

TNH’s 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America List 2021: Numbers 50-41

TNH’s 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America List 2021: Numbers 40-31

TNH’s 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America List 2021: Numbers 30-21

TNH’s 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America List 2021: Numbers 20-11

TNH’s 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America List 2021: Numbers 10-1

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