NEW YORK – The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) was featured in Inside Philanthropy (IP) for its $100 million Global Relief Initiative during the pandemic. The seven rounds of grants from SNF between April 2020 and May 2021 helped to meet the urgent needs of communities around the world.
The Foundation made 208 grants in 50 countries, “addressing acute challenges like food and other necessities, support for front-line workers, mental health initiatives, and emergency relief for artists,” IP reported, adding that SNF “turned to existing partnerships, built new ones and emphasized collaborative emergency funds. All people and ideas were welcome. Of its 175 grantees, 78 were new. And SNF was open to doubling down on those with the capacity to do more. A number of key partners drew repeat funding in later rounds.”
SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos said that “the foundation’s only pandemic policy was ‘to try to do good,’ and followed two realizations it made early on: the needs were huge, and it would have to act fast,” IP reported.
“Geographically, it made the majority of pandemic investments in Greece and the U.S.—and more specifically, New York City— but funding extended to several regions, including Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America,” IP reported, noting that in all cases, “need was the main driver.”
“Our approach to grantmaking is to try to go where the need is, rather than follow a preconceived notion of what’s important,” said Dracopoulos, IP reported.
In round one, the first response, in April 2020, $31 million “established a throughline of support for Greece and New York City, which was then the epicenter of the virus, accounting for more than 20,000 of the 67,000 recorded deaths,” IP reported, adding that SNF “directed nearly $12 million to Greece, ‘a special place in its heart and work,’ where the pandemic was playing out against a decade-long socio-economic crisis.”
SNF “didn’t shy away from funding mental health consequences, directing $1.5 million to support vulnerable populations including seniors, children and front-line workers,” IP reported, pointing out that “in fact, mental health’s been part of SNF’s overall healthcare portfolio for decades.”
Dracopoulos “believes that COVID may even help overcome old biases, as mental health issues manifest in ‘people’s everyday lives across the board, and all families to various degrees,’” IP reported.
SNF also “collaborated with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Resolve to Save Lives initiative in Africa, gave its first support to UNICEF’s collaborative COVID response, and invested in food and mental health organizations in Europe, and across France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain,” IP reported, noting that “it also placed two long-term bets with U.S. educational institutions: a testing initiative at Johns Hopkins, and a research initiative at Rockefeller University.”
SNF’s round two grants focused on communities in need, round three on the essentials and the arts, round four on supporting young people and laying a new foundation for equitable economic recovery, round five on new and repeat partners, round six on women and girls, and round seven on “doubling down on partners and lifting up New York arts,” IP reported.
“SNF appreciates the people and ideas that shaped its response,” Dracopoulos told IP, adding that “we’ve been listening and learning as we’ve gone along, and have had the best possible guides in this process— partners who have worked to overcome everything the pandemic has thrown at them in order to continue serving the most vulnerable among us.”
With the seven rounds concluding, Dracopoulos told IP, “our feeling as a team is one of overwhelming gratitude to our tireless partners.”
More information is available online: https://www.snf.org/en/initiatives/covid-19-relief/.