ATHENS – On Tuesday, December 17, 2019, SNF and basketball legend Panagiotis Giannakis introduced Field of Life, a new nonprofit organization and initiative anchored in Giannakis’s old neighborhood in Southwestern Attica.
Field of Life was born out of Giannakis and SNF’s collaborative vision for empowering young people, helping them reach their potential, and enhancing their lives in an innovative new recreational, educational, and cultural space. The establishment of Field of Life and rollout of the initiative are the outcome of a landmark founding grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).
Field of Life’s core mission is to serve a critical underserved community—young people—through the creation of an innovative, welcoming physical and social space that encourages growth, development, and transformation by offering a plethora of supportive programs promoting healthy, active, and creative lifestyles. The initiative aims to realize a broader vision for engaging young people by also offering programs in public spaces in many different neighborhoods, such as schools and community centers, serving as many children and young people as possible.
A grant from SNF supports the creation, within the next two and a half years, of a state-of-the-art new facility in Southwestern Attica and, subsequently, its full operation. The new facility will offer a safe, healthy, and engaging space for children and young people ages 6 to 18 to gather daily, from the end of the school day until 9 p.m. The new center’s programs will include recreational, educational and cultural activities such as sports education, homework assistance, wellness programs, academic and professional preparation, arts activities, a daily hot meal and healthy snack, and other skills-based programs.
Panagiotis Giannakis and the Field of Life team aim to begin engaging with young people immediately, introducing the new initiative and piloting its programs through numerous activities and presentations around Athens. Starting with Nikaia, Coach Giannakis’s old neighborhood, in the spring of 2020, Field of Life plans to “take to the streets” by reaching out to schools, community centers, and other public spaces and organizing free activities for young people.
During the presentation of the new organization, Field of Life President Panagiotis Giannakis said, “Growing up, I was lucky enough to meet people with vision about children’s future. D. Damianidis, as an administrator and teacher-coach, and Byron Kritharis, utilized the resources available to create the conditions that helped me, along with many other kids, discover our talent. What I am aiming to achieve through Field of Life, following their example, is to provide young people the impetus and the infrastructure to discover their own talents and the motivation to develop them with passion, in a safe and welcoming space. I think society is fortunate to have people like Mr. Dracopoulos and his colleagues at SNF who embrace and support initiatives that help our country toward a better future.”
SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos participated in the presentation via video conference from New York City. He said, “Panagiotis Giannakis’s vision, to create an organization that helps children and young people discover their talents and skills in a safe environment, dovetails perfectly with the vision that has been successfully served for decades by organizations here in the States, like Madison Square Boys and Girls Club in New York. Organizations like these, with which SNF has collaborated extensively in recent years, have offered their knowledge and advice as we prepare for this new journey with Panagiotis Giannakis and the whole Field of Life team. For our part, we will contribute to the best of our abilities, as an international philanthropic organization, so that children have the resources and opportunities to pursue their dreams, and we will do so with vision, perseverance, dedication, and hope.”