“Unprecedented,” the byword for the past year, captures the nature of the health and socioeconomic crises precipitated by the pandemic, and their devastating impact across every area of society. But from our perspective at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) as we enter our 25th year of grantmaking, one element of what we’ve experienced this year does have strong precedents.
As they have done throughout our history together, our incredible partners, nonprofit organizations around the world, have overcome every obstacle thrown at them to provide critical services to the most vulnerable populations.
These organizations draw strength from hands-on experience and the diversity of voices that guide their work. Since SNF’s first grant in 1996, our work has likewise been strengthened by the varying perspectives, areas of expertise, and backgrounds of our partners. The core of our grantmaking is our online application, open 24/7 to any nonprofit around the globe interested in applying, and this accessible approach has helped us reach widely and deeply. While they encompass a remarkable variety of projects, the nearly 5,000 grants SNF has made in more than 130 countries do share several common traits.
All pursue a transformative vision, one that seeks not only to improve current conditions, but also to help change the ground rules and achieve a positive multiplier effect. All work collaboratively, seeking partnerships and dialogue within communities and fields, but also across disciplinary boundaries, sectors, and national borders. And in all, the integrity of the people driving the project is of paramount importance, as is transparency in implementation.
These are the same values we have tried to follow in our own work. Throughout this anniversary year, we hope you will join us online and, eventually, in person as we look at what we’ve learned in our first quarter-century and reflect on how it will guide the next 25 years.
It’s tempting, living through an era of disruption, to want things to go back to “normal.” But if we are to make meaningful progress toward a society characterized by greater justice, greater equality, greater inclusion, and thus greater humanity, going back is not an option.
To partners and friends, thank you for joining us on this journey. And on we go.
Andreas C. Dracopoulos
Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)