Entering a new year offers us the chance to look back, to reflect, to learn, and to grow—both individually and collectively—to try to start from a place of clarity for what comes next.
In 2021, SNF marked our 25th anniversary by celebrating the amazing partnerships that continue to be at the heart of our work, the ideas that guide it, and the people who motivate and implement it. Always seeking to advance the common good, we formed new collaborations and deepened existing ones. We wrapped up a $100 million global COVID-19 relief initiative but remain intently focused on helping combat the ongoing and ubiquitous effects of the pandemic.
We celebrated the long-awaited opening of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL) in New York, heralded as a resounding affirmation of the importance of public spaces, and libraries in particular, as we rebound from the challenges of recent years. In August, we gathered safely in person for our annual SNF Nostos, a much-needed celebration of art, culture, learning, and the joy of being together, free and open to all. Anchored by the SNF Conference, two days of participatory dialogue and discussion on the future of humanity and artificial intelligence (AI), SNF Nostos provided both a respite and a look forward.
Reflecting on our history during this anniversary year reinforced that the legacy we’ve been left by our founder, the late Stavros Niarchos, is one of evolution, of adaptation, of being open to new ideas that will help us continue to fulfill our mission of creating a better world for all.
In 2022, we must move on from conversations about returning to “normal” (and what does “normal” mean anyway?) and embrace transformation to be able to respond to ongoing challenges and opportunities as they arise. Working together, we must try to ensure that unfolding changes bring benefits that are as widely shared as possible.
In February, we’ll celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens being given to the people of Greece—and to visitors from around the world. We know that the SNFCC, SNF’s largest single grant to date, will continuously strive to find new ways of entertaining and enlightening in a truly public space that people make their own daily. We’ll see people in Evia begin to rebuild livelihoods after devastating fires, recognizing that things will never be the same, but believing that renewal and revitalization are within reach.
And we’ll continue working to strengthen global access to health care through the SNF Health Initiative (HI) in Greece, a more than $500 million endeavor, and other major projects, putting special emphasis on mental health, sure that whatever else changes, healthy bodies and healthy minds are absolutely fundamental. Health, broadly defined, will therefore be the focus of SNF Nostos 2022, which will welcome all who are interested on June 23 and 24 at the SNFCC.
Continuing to pursue our global mission, we have been collaborating closely in the last few months on several exciting new efforts, and we hope to announce $130 million in new support very soon. Included are a major project at Columbia University in New York in the critical area of mental health, the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago as well as the Obama Foundation’s ongoing global leadership programs, and the work of Lincoln Center in New York forming global collaborations and opening access to inclusive public space in New York where everyone can participate in arts and culture.
We’re entering 2022 with our eyes wide open, optimistic that we all have the tools—among them collaboration and respect, openness and flexibility—to create lasting positive change, always keeping our humanity at the center.
Warmest wishes for the year ahead!
On behalf of all of us at SNF,