29 JANUARY 2018 / Announcement from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Earlier today we were informed by the Artistic Director of the Greek National Opera (GNO), regarding the incident that took place on Sunday January 28th, 2018, during which members of GNO’s Children Choir were trapped in an elevator inside the GNO building at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC).

We express our regret over the distress experienced by the children themselves and their families, as well as by their chaperones, until they were rescued from the elevator and reconnected with their loved ones.

In light of recent publicity reports erroneously stating that this incident took place at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and attributing statements to representatives of the Foundation, in an effort to dispel misconceptions that confuse the public, we would like to point out once more that the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) are two distinct and autonomous organizations.

The SNF is a private philanthropic organization, making grants to non-profit organizations. The SNFCC is a public organization and space that hosts in its premises the GNO and the National Library of Greece, as well as the Stavros Niarchos Park. The Greek State is wholly responsible for the SNFCC’s management and operation.

The SNF offered the founding grant for the development of the SNFCC. During the design and construction stage of the SNFCC, the SNF took all necessary measures to create a Cultural Center of international standards. Upon the SNFCC’s delivery to the Greek State in February 2017, the SNF declared its intention to continue supporting the SNFCC through grants totaling up to €50 million for a period of five years (2017-2022), as long as it operates properly. The proper management of the SNFCC is a contractual obligation and a prerequisite for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to continue supporting the SNFCC.

The SNF awaits assurances by the responsible parties that all necessary measures are in place for the smooth operation and the optimum visitors’ experience, starting with the most fundamental need, that of the safety of all visitors.

Given the continuous good collaboration between all stakeholders, the SNF remains active in its commitment to support, to the best of its abilities, the SNFCC in order to be able to fulfill its mission as a secure, environmentally sustainable, world-class cultural, educational and recreational urban complex open and accessible to all.