I hear it often but it does not surprise me. It impresses me.
What impresses me most, however, is the (rightful) judgment of the people: the admiration that people express for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and its president, Andreas K. Dracopoulos.
I have experienced this phenomenon in the past. But at this time, it is more intense. Probably because of the coronavirus pandemic and the large donations of the Foundation in the health sector. (The Foundation will spend 420 million euros for three hospitals in Greece that will be delivered to the public in 2025. This does not include other donations of medical equipment, helicopters, airplanes, ambulances, etc.).
In most of the meetings here in Chania in which I have participated, the discussion has focused on the contributions of expatriates and specifically the SNF. My interlocutors are well acquainted with the president of the SNF and his contributions.
And they are not just expressing gratitude for the SNF’s contributions.
They go even deeper.
They speak with respect. They talk about the trust they have in him. They speak with full conviction that Dracopoulos and the SNF stand out from everything else in Greek society.
They are impressed by the transparency and the integrity – and his selflessness.
In a society and in a world where people have lost faith in institutions, they see SNF as a glittering ray of hope. They see that not everyone is the same. They gain strength to continue the course of life.
They are amazed when they are informed that the SNF has no business activity in Greece or abroad. It is difficult for them to understand...
This year, SNF celebrates 25 years since its founding.
I was unusually fortunate to be able to follow SNF's development relatively early and rather closely. I quickly recognized that Dracopoulos' leadership is unusual. It has nothing to do with the run-of-the-mill in Greece or in the Diaspora. He is a genuine man with his feet firmly planted on the ground.
He possesses unusually large visions and surveys broad horizons.
But above all, what makes him stand out is his impeccable character, which in combination with his great abilities established him as an international personality.
Since 1996, SNF has donated a total of more than $3.1 billion through donations to 4,900 non-profit organizations in more than 130 countries.
The largest donation of the Foundation is the magnificent Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens. The total cost of creating the project exceeded $ 860 million.
No one, not even the SNF can solve all the problems of the world, but in its first 25 years, it has improved the lives of millions of people. It is inspiring. It gives hope. SNF, through donations and by example, has taught ethics. Humility.
What its individual and net contributions will be over the next 25 year we cannot predict. Our minds cannot imagine.
That is because Andreas K. Dracopoulos thinks not inside, but outside the box.
That is why the only thing that is certain is that he will continue to make history. For others. Especially for the weak and unfortunate.
May SNF thrive for the next 1000!