Our Story

Who We Are?

Founded in 1991 by a visionary group of Hellenic Americans, the Foundation has grown through involvement of community leaders and donors throughout the Greater St. Louis Area to build upon our legacy of philanthropy and support sister organizations in both the Greek American and broader St. Louis community. Our Philhellenes (friends of Greeks) have transformed our Foundation into a major charitable organization. To date Hellenic Spirit has made total donations exceeding one million dollars all designed to meaningfully impact the lives of our fellow St. Louisans. Hellenic Spirit has been the lead sponsor of numerous cultural programs enriching the lives of all St. Louisans and celebrating the richness of Greek American Culture from the arts, science, history, lectures, special events and performances.

What We Do

The Foundation fulfills its mission through tireless fundraising and support of numerous educational and charitable endeavors to reach students, institutions, and persons in need. A list of our signature projects and activities illustrate the impact and involvement of our members and donors to improve the lives and create new opportunities and support for so many. While focused on the St. Louis Area our horizons are broader as we have supported important projects across the United States and abroad.

Honoring Our Hellenic Heritage

The Foundation has consistently supported the mission of the Hellenic Government-Karakas Foundation Professorship in Greek Studies, the Hellenic Cultural Center and lecture series to focus, develop, and sustain research, teaching, and public education on Hellenism. It does so with particular emphasis on the impact of Hellenic civilization on contemporary society, supporting events, concerts, programs and other efforts of cultural significance. To illustrate, the Foundation was a major supporter of the Kyklos Circle of Glory celebrating the Olympics and place in Athens Olympic Stadium, brought the Byzantine Choir to St. Louis Cathedral, and Celebrated the life of Maria Callas with a concert at UMSL. For many years it sponsored the Athena Awards honoring successful Greek American Women of achievement across the arts, education, civic service and philanthropy.

Serving the Greater St. Louis Community and a Good Neighbor to the World.

The Foundation has been a significant donor to and collaborated with many local St. Louis charities and national and international philanthropy. Its grant committee has supported the Heart Association, the Diabetes Association, and organizations serving battered women and neediest 100 families. We provided funds for Katina Relief, Albanian children needing school supplies, and the St. Basil’s orphanage. For many years, the Foundation supported the refugees on Cyprus and recently the Foundation gave over $ 10,000 to the Greek Fire Relief Victims.

Supporting Our Universities and High Schools

The Foundation was among the donors benefiting the Thomas F. Eagleton Endowment Fund at Washington University and has funded numerous initiatives at the University of Missouri St. Louis. Our greatest impact has been through our many scholarships to students with demonstrated financial need and strong academic potential. These grants have assured that these students can continue their education with the promise that they will be major influencers in our society in the future. The Foundation also funds numerous lectures both at our Universities and sponsored by them to enlighten our community on a broad range of topics that advance cultural and historical understanding. Hellenic Spirit has sponsored numerous lectures, book fairs, and other activities at Hazelwood, Soldan, Eureka, Rittenor and other area high schools.

Supporting our Hellenic American Institutions.

Over the past 30 years, the Foundation has provided financial support to numerous Orthodox churches across the St, Louis metropolitan area and their charitable auxiliaries. Hellenic Spirit has supported one-week Summer Day Camps for Children exposing them to Greek Culture and the Tijuana Mexico Project for Greek youth to build homes for the homeless in Mexico. The Foundation has donated funds to Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary.

Historic Members:

Founding Members:

Mr. Spiro Abatgis
Mr. Dino J. Benos
Dr. Nicholas Kamakas
Mr. George Kantis
Mr. Harry Karagiannis
Mr. Nicholas Karakas
Dr. George Katsantonis
Mr. Peter Katsinas
Mr. Dan Kazanas
Mr. Steve Lekometros
Mr. Byron Magafas
Dr. Nicholas Matsakis
Mr. Sam Nakis
Mr. Gus Papadopoulos
Mr. George A. Pappas
Mr. Nicholas Potsos
Mr. Leon Spanos
Mr. Nicholas Tharenos
Mr. George Tompras

Members Who Live
On In Spirit:

Nick Karakas (2021)
Harry Lemakis (2021)
George Kantis (2020)
Lou Potsou (2020)
Tony Karakas (2019)
Peter Vaccaro (2019)
Kim Tucci (2019)
Leo Catsavis (2013)
Pete Karakas (2013)
George Papas (2013)
Dr. Nicholas Matsakis  (2009) 
Dr. Nicholas Kamakas  (2008)
William Togias  (2008)
Paul Dubis  (2006)
Sam Nakis   (2006)
William Glastris  (2005)
Spiro Abatgis   (2002)
Steve Lekometros  (1994)
Nicholas Potsos  (1992)