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Spotlight on 25 Years of Grantmaking: Notes from SNF Senior Technical Grants Officer George Michalakopoulos

What was the first grant you followed for the Foundation? / What’s a grant that’s stuck with you over time?

One of the first grants that I handled was the expansion of the meteorological station network (30 stations) run by the National Observatory of Athens. I was impressed with the speed, the quality, and the impact of the result produced. Even now, 14 years later, many of these meteorological stations and the software developed for them are still providing free meteorological information to researchers and the public.

What was the first site visit you went on? / What’s a site visit that stands out in your memory?

The visits that stand out in my memory were the visits to the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) offices in Genoa, Paris, and New York City, during the design phase of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in 2009. The dense meeting schedule, the progress and options discussed, the ability to be part of the project’s outcome, and the professionalism and the hospitality of the RPBW team were really impressive.

What are the most important things you’ve learned since starting work here?

I wouldn’t say learn but confirm!

i. Every great organization carries a great human story and consists of people really dedicated to promoting the organization’s cause.
ii. Give to make a difference, not to make someone happy.

George Michalakopoulos, SNF Senior Technical Grants Officer
13 years + 13 months + 13 days with SNF and counting