Monthly Archives: May 2014

Spiro John Latsis | Funding research you didn’t even know existed

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation was set up to continue the good work of John S. Latsis. It operates, helps and funds various initiatives that mainly originate in Greece, though they work abroad too. They fund programmes that help us grow as communities instead of powering a commercial machine. That is why they help and fund initiatives related to culture and social welfare. They also help and fund scientific research and education. There are numerous projects working worldwide that would not exist without the help of Spiro John Latsis and the Latsis family.

Spiro John LatsisSome of the work they fund in the world of science is truly fascinating, and yet it is easy to see why such projects may struggle to find help and funding elsewhere. The support of the foundation enables life sciences projects do things such as research worms and bacteria for clues to a cure for Alzheimer’s, research into anti-HCV drugs, and the biodiversity of Aegean dry-stone walls. They have also funded a project that is researching nano-fibres to be used as a slow release mechanism for antibiotics.

One of their projects is studying the new counter-urbanism feeling that is taking root in Greece and other countries. They are working to find out why more and more people appear to be moving to rural areas.

Under the current leadership of Spiro Latsis, the Latsis Foundation fund one-year research projects. The aim is to introduce a wider range of scientific research to Greece. They basically consider all applicants, with a set of terms and conditions that the project must live up to in order to qualify. They fund an average of seventeen projects per year, and try to spread the focus equally between three main scientific fields.

Some of the projects are incredibly exciting, such as the work the Latsis Foundation has funded into researching minimal invasive tissue engineering using Nanogels. This work will help regenerative medicine in the future. Not all projects they support relate to futuristic healing, and is quite wide ranging; such as in 2013, when they funded work to monitor how calcified structures of benthic organisms are affected by ocean acidification. They also support a project that is going to help archaeologists piece together fragmented pieces of their archaeological finds. This will mean we may learn more about our past, and means that future finds that are not near perfect will still be of significant historical importance. This is especially true the older the find is.

Benefitting from Spiro Latsis’ Help

The John S. Latsis Foundation was created in order to provide funding to scientific, educational and creative projects in both Greece and in foreign countries. This NPO was set up in memory of John Latsis who was a Greek entrepreneur whose vast fortune went hand in hand with many beneficial services throughout his lifetime. Following his  Spiro Latsisdeath in 2003, relatives of the tycoon set up the foundation in his name and they now make up the supervisory board, assisting the executives in making decisions regarding where the Latsis wealth will go to next.

Dr Spiro Latsis is a member of the supervisory board and it is part of his duty to recommend which applicants are most deserving of the money from his father’s legacy. As the family is Greek, it comes as no surprise that the foundation aims to help projects in their home nation first; however, the foundation does accept applications from across the globe.

Each year is marked by an open call event whereby the current year’s applicants will be presented with the criteria required to be successful. A great focus of the foundation’s funding is placed in culture, the arts and sciences as well as public welfare.

There are two primary ways in which the Latsis Foundation will offer aid to its applicants, the first of which is through direct financial assistance and second, the beneficiary will be working alongside one of the Foundation’s third party investments. Although the money alone would often be enough from a Foundation such as this, the organisation is keen to point out that not only will they provide financial aid, but each recipient is regarded as a partner as well. This symbiotic relationship then ensures that the money that has been awarded is spent wisely, but also it further strengthens the foundation’s involvement in projects that it values.

With the number of applicants growing year on year, and the number of projects actually being granted money, the Latsis Foundation spends a considerable amount of time assessing which project would benefit the most from its aid. Not only this, but the organisation looks at the future for maximising their investment potential.

Spiro Latsis | Business interests of John S. Latsis

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation came into existence in 2005, in recognition of the public service work carried out by Greek businessman and entrepreneur John S. Latsis. With its main headquarters situated in Athens, Greece and a second office in Liechtenstein, the foundation possesses a presence across Europe and assists organisations and groups with funding and support. The majority of the funding and support is concentrated within Greece, however the foundation has also provided assistance to worthwhile causes outside of Greece. The foundation has a strong Latsis family presence with Henrietta Latsis, Spiro Latsis, Marianna Latsis and Margarita Latsis all members of the supervisory board.

Spiro LatsisThe foundation was established in 2005 and was named after John S. Latsis who devoted much of his time to supporting groups and organisations within fields of study such as education, cultures, welfare and scientific study. John S. Latsis was born in Katakolo in the Peloponnese and came from a large yet relatively poor family that relied on each person in the family contributing to the household costs. This resulted in John S. Latsis securing employment at a very early age, when he began working to help support his family. In addition to his commitment to work and helping his family, John S. Latsis was also a dedicated student and successfully graduated from Pyrgos School of Commerce; this early foundation of study was soon to play a big part in his future.

In 1940, John S. Latsis married Henrietta Tsoukala. Three children followed, namely Spiro Latsis, Marianna Latsis and Margarita Latsis. Away from the family life, John S. Latsis continued to expand his business interests with his focus specifically concerning trade and commerce activities. After a successful period of time spent within the trade and commerce sectors, John S. Latsis turned his attention to shipping and transportation and enjoyed significant success in relation to both transporting religious individuals to Mecca and providing commercial shipping solutions to those that were in need of them, particularly petroleum companies. This initial foray into the petroleum industry would lead to the entrepreneur officially opening the first ever oil refinery, in terms of export, in Greece.

John S. Latsis then began to take an interest in the situation in the Middle East and carried out much needed infrastructure work in Saudi Arabia in the 1970’s, before opening another export refinery in the early 1980’s in Rabigh. He entered the world of finance and credit for the very first time in the same decade when he purchased a bank in Geneva, Switzerland. This first purchase would signal the commencement of yet another successful business venture for the Greek businessman.

The Provision of Scholarships

Officially formed in 2005, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation is a charitable organisation based in Greece, now overseen by Spiro Latsis and other members of the family. The foundation itself was established as a tribute to John S. Latsis, a successful businessman who dedicated much of his time and energy to public service work. The foundation aims to continue the fine work of John S. Latsis in future projects and initiatives. The Latsis Foundation is governed by two boards, namely the supervisory board and the executive board. The supervisory board is made up of Latsis family members and plays a prominent role in deciding the future direction of the organisation together with making decisions on current funding and support strategies. The Latsis family members currently performing roles on the supervisory board are Spiro John Latsis, Marianna Latsis, Henrietta Latsis and Margarita Latsis. The family provides an important sense of continuity between the work of John S. Latsis and the work currently undertaken by the foundation.

Spiro LatsisThe foundation supports a number of groups and organisations in the form of funding and support. The majority of the initiatives supported by the Latsis Foundation take place in Greece although they have also supported worthwhile causes across Europe. The foundation itself concentrates its efforts on a number of fields, many of which played an important role in the life of John S. Latsis, and include education, social welfare, scientific research and culture. The foundation creates and implements their own initiatives for which they provide help for the groups and organisations involved whilst they also provide funding and support for initiatives implemented by third-party organisations.

An important area that has been identified by the Latsis Foundation concerns the provision of scholarships. The foundation is committed to providing support to students wishing to continue their education. The provision of scholarships by the foundation continues the work of John S. Latsis who set up the Ileians’ Scholarships Foundation in 1967 and assisted students from the region of Ileia that wished to continue their education. The foundation now provides scholarships for students from all over Greece to continue their education both in Greece and abroad and see this as an important part of their work.