Designed by internationally renowned architect Renzo Piano, the SNFCC is an architectural masterpiece that continues to evolve, to expand its offerings, and to embrace and be embraced by the public. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), which envisioned and created the SNFCC, has supported it every step of the way, and today—six years after its delivery to the Greek state and the people of Greece in February 2017—the Foundation is reupping its support through a new grant totaling up to €30 million ($32 million) over next three years.
Recognizing the multitude of ways in which the SNFCC serves society at large, SNF remains, to the extent of its capabilities, its constant and ardent supporter—but also a supporter of the important effort that the organization is making to secure resources beyond SNF grants that will ensure its long-term financial sustainability. In this context, it is particularly encouraging to see that the Greek state is committed to increased financial support for the SNFCC that will contribute significantly to ensuring that the SNFCC continues to operate smoothly in the coming years.
“We are particularly pleased that the Greek state also embraces and recognizes the value of the SNFCC, and that through funding from it too the organization will continue to perform its important role as an evolving, sustainable, and universally accessible public space,” said SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos. “This collaboration reinvigorates the concept of public-private partnership in practice, which we believe will give the SNFCC the opportunity to keep on being a unique destination and integral part of everyday life for everyone, and to activate even more of its potential as a modern Agora in constant dialogue with the Greek and international community.”
The new SNF grant to the SNFCC, for March 2023 through February 2026, will be used primarily to cover operating and programming costs, and will be allocated in stages based on the needs outlined by the organization—€10 million in the first year and €9 million in each of the following two years. Additionally, SNF is prepared to allocate a further €2 million, for a total of €30 million, provided that the SNFCC furnishes matching funds for the maintenance of its facilities.
From the conception of the idea through 2026, SNF will have given a total of €641 million ($773 million) to the SNFCC. These grants largely supported the construction of the cultural center, but have also gone toward operating costs, events, and additional programming and infrastructure to further enhance the SNFCC’s work. SNF also actively supported the National Library of Greece (NLG) and the Greek National Opera (GNO) in their transition to their new home at the SNFCC.
The SNFCC has played a pivotal role in Greek society, and its social, environmental, and economic impact is undeniable. It is the third most preferred cultural destination in Athens for international visitors, after the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum, according to a survey conducted by Athens International Airport. Delta, a restaurant at the SNFCC created at the initiative of and with an exclusive grant from SNF, was awarded two Michelin Guide Athens stars and one Green Star for Sustainable Gastronomy, underscoring the SNFCC’s international impact and the entire project’s dedication to the concept of sustainability. To date, more than 6,100 cultural and educational events and more than 16,100 sports activities, most of which were implemented in cooperation with the nonprofit Regeneration & Progress, have taken place. Admission to almost all of these events—99.4%—was free through support from SNF. The SNFCC has also welcomed more than 505,000 students from all over Greece and hosted over 8,650 school visits. During the same period, it established partnerships with over 40 international institutions, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York through the Stavros Niarchos Foundation-Lincoln Center (SNF-LC) Agora Initiative. In the realm of sustainable development, the SNFCC was the first large-scale cultural project in Europe to earn LEED Platinum certification, and Stavros Niarchos Park is the largest public Mediterranean garden in the world.
Every summer, SNF returns to the SNFCC for SNF Nostos, an open festival for all. This year, SNF Nostos will be dedicated to mental health, exploring a range of topics related to the theme through discussions, interactive installations, athletic activity, and artistic programming. SNF is honored and delighted that President Barack Obama will take part in 2023 SNF Nostos Conference, where he will join SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos for a one-on-one keynote conversation focused on how to strengthen our democratic culture and the importance in investing in the next generation of leaders.
It is clear at the global level that there is pressing need for public spaces where people can get together, talk, express their opinions, spend quality time with each other, and have fun. Our hope is that the SNFCC will continue to provide a benchmark for such public spaces for many years to come.