NEW YORK – Each year, 175-year-old American magazine Town & Country convenes leaders from a diversity of fields for its Philanthropy Summit June 21-24. Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos joined the conversation at this year’s event, alongside others including musician Pharrell Williams, Congressman Jamie Raskin, journalist Soledad O’Brien, humanitarian-chef José Andrés, talk show legend Phil Donahue, and Marlo Thomas, actress, producer, author, and National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
On June 23, Dracopoulos participate in a conversation on “Beautiful Minds: The Mental Health Support Our Children Need Now” with Town & Country Editor in Chief Stellene Volandes.
Following dynamic and moving discussions with actor, filmmaker, and activist Taraji P. Henson and Congressman Jamie Raskin, with moderator Stacy-Marie Ishmael, Volandes spoke with Dracopoulos about the SNF’s landmark mental health initiative in Greece, part of the Foundation’s larger Health Initiative for the country which includes the building of three new hospitals.
When asked about SNF and its mission, Dracopoulos noted that it is global, with grantmaking efforts in over 130 countries in four areas, Arts & Culture, Education, Health & Sports, and Social Welfare, which he said “can cover any project.”
He then spoke about the Mental Health Initiative and the collaboration with the U.S.-based Child Mind Institute (CMI) to help increase awareness and improve treatment of mental illness in Greece.
Dracopoulos pointed out that “before the pandemic, talking about mental health was not easy,” and mental health issues are “a reality that exists in most households in some form.”
He referred to the pre-Socratic philosopher Thales to whom the saying “healthy body, healthy mind” is attributed, noting that “we focused on the body and took the mind for granted,” adding that the stigma concerning mental illness is not only in Greece, but around the world. The initiative is an opportunity “to help our young people” and “we can all improve,” Dracopoulos said.
The mental health initiative will focus at first on training the trainers, sharing best practices, and collaborating with experts, Dracopoulos said, adding that to even be talking about mental health is half the success. Centers will also be established, including at the new pediatric hospital which will be built in Thessaloniki, but until then, telemedicine and other programs and options will be explored and implemented. “There is no perfect way to go about it,” Dracopoulos pointed out.
He also noted that public-private partnerships are needed to succeed in any project and collaborators are essential, but “you have to share the vision,” and [SNF] “is a big believer in the multiplier effect.”
Volandes then thanked Dracopoulos for his participation in the Philanthropy Summit and for the SNF’s efforts in helping people to understand mental health and talk about it in “another wonderful collaboration,” making the world a better place. She also thanked him and SNF for “The GREEN” at Lincoln Center, the installation at the iconic Josie Robertson Plaza, the physical centerpiece of Restart Stages, Lincoln Center’s initiative to help kickstart the arts sector and New York City’s revival. Restart Stages is part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation-Lincoln Center Agora Initiative, a collaboration bringing new approaches in cultural engagement to public spaces.
“It shows the importance of true public spaces,” Dracopoulos said of the installation.
Volandes also noted that the Summit includes the Live Well Give Well charity auction with proceeds benefitting the World Central Kitchen, founded by humanitarian-chef José Andrés. To donate or bid on items: https://www.charitybuzz.com/theme/TownandCountry175th/lots.
More information about the Town & Country Philanthropy Summit is available online: https://www.tandcphilanthropy.com/.