On Saturday November 14, 2015, the Elios Charitable Foundation held their 10th biennial Hellenic Charity Ball in celebration of formidable and inspirational Greek-American personalities in the Arts and Entertainment industry in the United States.
The Elios Charitable Foundation is an organization that is dedicated to preserving Hellenic values and culture. Over the past decade it has assumed a leadership position in the Hellenic-American community, shaping and funding programs such as the Modern Greek Studies Program at San Francisco State University, the Center for Tebtunis Papyri at the University of California at Berkeley, a Greek arts program at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and the Modern Greek Studies Foundation for the San Francisco Greek Film Festival.
This year’s Ball was held at the illustrious Westin St. Francis Hotel in Union Square and was attended by over 500 guests. One of San Francisco’s most star-studded and elegant events, the Ball was emceed by 2009 Hellenic Charity Ball Honoree Marilu Henner, and it honored cinematographer and director Constantine Makris (known for his roles in Law and Order and Orange is the New Black), actor and dancer Gilles Marini (known for his roles in Sex and the City: The Movie and Dancing with the Stars) and comedian Demetri Martin (known for his role on the Daily Show) for their exemplary accomplishments and the contributions they have made to advancing Hellenic spirit and culture. Jazz singer Ariana Savalas was also honored at the event, having being selected as the recipient for this year’s Elios Spotlight Award.
The Hellenic Charity Ball serves as the primary source of funding for the Elios Charitable Foundation and its programs. Since the first ball was held in 1997, the Foundation has grown exponentially, granting $1 million to organizations and projects spanning fields including the arts and education. The Ball has also grown, emerging as a conglomeration for the West Coast’s most influential leaders and trendsetters. This year’s event raised $520,000, the highest in the event’s history, and there is no doubt that the Ball will continue to inspire and celebrate Hellenic culture, “in an atmosphere reminiscent of a Greek wedding”, as put by the Foundation’s President, John Gumas.