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Press Conference: Initiative against the crisis – A year of action for Greece

Feb 18, 2013
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, on the occasion of completing one year since the beginning of its three year initiative to commit additional funding in the amount of €100,000,000 million to help address the effects of the economic crisis in Greece, presented today an account of the program’s first year, and announced its future plans for further assisting to address the country’s growing social needs.

Today’s event was attended by members of the Foundation and of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, as well as by representatives of all the grantees that are working with the Foundation as part of this initiative.
The Foundation’s actions are motivated primarily by the notion of giving to society and providing critical support for citizens in need. It supports specific programs and implements actions of global reach, having approved, from 1996 until today grant commitments of €1 billion, through 2,400 grants to non profits in 109 nations around the world, in four basic areas: Education, Art & Culture, Health & Medicine, and Social Welfare.
It is worth noting, that over 80% of the Foundation’s total funding has been allocated to organizations and initiatives in Greece, an indication that the Foundation’s grant-making philosophy is directly linked to the deeper needs of Greek society and the country.
In this context, and taking into consideration Greece’s ever-deepening crisis, the Foundation decided one year ago to undertake certain actions, beyond its usual activities, aiming to provide more direct support and to assist with the recovery of individuals and communities affected by the economic crisis. Since the beginning of 2012, the Foundation has already provided support totaling €54 million, through 157 grants across the country, and continues to assess new programs and organizations with the purpose of further enhancing the impact of the initiative.
During today’s presentation, six indicative organizations/grantees presented their work and its importance within the current socioeconomic environment, underlining the need for an immediate and well-organized intervention towards the implementation of contemporary programs that respond to the current social needs and help ensure that the effects of the crisis do not encumber the country’s future generations.
In particular, the organizations and programs presented are as follows:

Funding for the Social Housing Program and the creation of Day Care Centers for the Homeless (PRAKSIS)
Food aid and nutrition educational program in schools (Prolepsis)
Mobile medical unit program (Olympic Village Polyclinic)
Child support programs (Mitera – Center for the Protection of Children in Attica)
Educational program at the Center for Agricultural Entrepreneurship (American Farm School) Program supporting scholarships for Greek students in Canadian universities – the Ambassador of Canada in Greece, Mr. Robert Peck, participated in this presentation.

Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of the Board of Directors of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, spoke of the power of philanthropy, which allows society to unite substantively, connect emotionally and commit morally, complementing in this manner the State’s efforts to create a better society for all. “Greece, its people and their actual problems truly need a Welfare Society, a fair, dynamic and viable society, where all members, from all sectors, including public, private, not-for-profits, supranational organizations and humanitarian institutions, have to contribute towards creating a healthy society, able to defend itself against today’s many and complex challenges; a society also able to provide the basic needs of life for its citizens; to allow for decency, dignity, and civility; and, last but not least, to provide an opportunity to dream, to help make dreams become reality, and to hope for a better tomorrow. All positive forces have to collaborate towards this end.” stated Mr. Dracopoulos (Full Speech)

Regarding the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Ioannis Trohopoulos, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the SNFCC, focused on the preparatory work currently in progress, both in terms of the construction and building of the Center, and of informing the public of the project, its interactive role and its aim to create cultural and educational experiences. “The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center reflects the restoration of the spirits of a wounded and humiliated Greek society, allowing the Greek people to once again feel proud, fearless and justifiably ambitious. It will be a place that stimulates human curiosity, that primal force of man that drives creativity, a space of live study for people with respect and courage, eager to learn, to share, to create,” said Mr. Trohopoulos (Full Speech).

Having already provided funding totaling approximately €54 million within a year, and as part of the above initiative only, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation is committed to continue its work with the same dedication and discipline, and to contribute, to the extent that it can, towards supporting the country and Greek society, a fact of particular importance under the current circumstances.

The Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Antonis Samaras, attended the event, addressing the audience. Below follows the text of his speech:
“I believe, Your Grace, ladies and gentlemen, I believe in the strength, the will, the earnestness, the heart of the Greek people, especially during these hard, these cruel times our country is going through. This truly important project initiated by the Foundation that goes further, against, versus the crisis, has already began to take root, as you heard, and to bear important fruit. It gives us strength. It gives us courage. This commitment, a moral commitment, by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to provide relief for Greek society, supporting those most in need, namely the vulnerable communities, easing their suffering with a plan and a schedule. There is no need for me to speak of the dozens new grants, totaling several hundred million euro, this social mission continues ceaselessly, as befits the Niarchos Foundation. It’s not just the millions distributed in 2012, or those that will be distributed in 2013, for those vulnerable social groups; it is also that extraordinary cultural project in progress at Faliro Bay, which will open up thousands of employment positions for young people, who so sorely need them. In these critical times, Mr. President, I would like you to know that the Greek government is fighting, day and night, to lift our country back up. To put us back on that course us economists call “economic recovery”. To make Greece strong again, all over, through development, to provide opportunities for everyone, and especially the young people, for work, for employment, so that we may also achieve that all-important objective known as social cohesion, which has naturally been heavily wounded during these hard times, when Greece finds itself a sad protagonist, with unemployment among young people having reached a record 60%. So I firmly believe in the strength, the will, the earnestness and the heart of the Greeks, the Greek nation, and the efforts of people, such as president Andreas Dracopoulos, who have passion, who have vision, who have programs, and I believe in this great project by the Niarchos Foundation. I am certain that the Greek people, all of us together, will win this battle in the end, with inspiration, with hard work, with our Greek philotimo and, most importantly, with love for our country, which is being tested to its very limit. Once more and on behalf, I am sure, of the entire Greek nation, a big thank you to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Thank you so much.”