Monthly Archives: June 2014

The work of Spiro Latsis and the John S Latsis Public Benefit Foundation

Greek shipping tycoon John S. Latsis was well known for his philanthropy and his family is continuing the tradition. In fact, his wife and all three of his children, including son Spiro Latsis, make up the Supervisory Board of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, which manages the various charitable initiatives that the Latsis family is involved in.

Spiro LatsisThe Foundation designs and implements its own programmes and finances programmes in partnership with others. Most of these programmes are in the fields of education, social welfare, scientific research and culture and while the majority of activities are focused on Greece, there are some programmes in other countries too that benefit from the Foundation.

Among the Foundation’s educational programmes are the series of international summer schools it funds. For example, the Pallas Athena Building, where the Foundation’s headquarters is located, serves as the venue each year for a summer school organised by universities and research centres in Greece. The Foundation also provides funding for an annual summer school programme at the University of Trento in Italy, where the focus is on economics and the solving of financial crises.

The issue of financial crises is of course close to the hearts of many Greeks who have lost their homes and businesses due to the crisis in that country. The Foundation started ‘It is Our Duty’, a social solidarity programme that aims to provide relief to those suffering most from the impact of the crisis, including children, the homeless, the unemployed and the newly poor.

Research is another area important to Spiro John Latsis and his family. Every year, the Foundation funds academic research projects in fields such as life sciences, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, earth sciences and social sciences. In addition, the European Science Foundation awards the prestigious European Latsis Prize every year on behalf of the Latsis family in recognition of outstanding contributions to scientific research in Europe.

Culture isn’t left behind either. In addition to sponsoring concerts and theatrical performances, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation is also the driving force behind the creation of a series of books focusing on archaeological museums. These are available in open access digital format and are free of charge.

With such a diverse range of activities, it is clear that the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation is doing more than its bit to help benefit humanity and create a better world for everyone. However, allocating its time and energy doesn’t happen in a haphazard way. The Foundation carefully considers each possible project first to determine those that will make the greatest impact in the long run.

Spiro Latsis | John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation Launches Little Musicians Programme

Nikos Tsouchlos, the president of the Athens conservatory, notes how the economic crisis hit Greece hard. Children have been forced to grow up in a harsh economy, and art is often the last thing on a parent’s minds. However, due to the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, it doesn’t have to remain that way.

Spiro LatsisThe Little Musicians initiative was launched officially at the Athens Conservatory, in the concert hall, in July 2013. Spiro Latsis, a member of the supervisory board of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, helped to oversee the launch for his clients. The objective is to improve musical education throughout Greece, and the foundation has managed to contribute to the effort by providing a scholarship programme for exceptionally talented students. The foundation, set up in memory of John S. Latsis, the father of Spiro Latsis, is dedicated to enhance public good throughout the world, but especially in Greece, from where the Latsis family originated.

Spiro John LatsisThe scholarship is targeted toward children residing in the Greek state of Attica, and is intended for anyone from the beginner to experienced musicians. Months into the launch of the programme the first scholarships have already been awarded. Every student who participated in the programme had between half and all of their tuition costs paid, depending on the economic situation of the parents. Auditions took place throughout September of 2013, and a concert was performed at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. This performance was made up of alumni of the conservatory as well and current students.

Dimitris Afendoulis, the secretary of the executive board, notes that this scholarship would help children of the future indulge in the culture and art of Greece, despite its current economic woes. And Nikos Tsouchlos, agrees, saying this is the kind of cultural pursuit that will prepare Greece for its future.

While Dimitris Afendoulis agrees that this partnership is vital in supporting one of the oldest musical facilities in the country, he also praised the financial model because it adapts to incoming contributions from outside donors, a funding source he intends to encourage. The foundation intends to continue awarding scholarships as well as bringing in new methods to finance the programme.

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation has been historically generous and desires to continue this tradition. If awards act as the motivation for researchers and scientists to put more effort into science and culture, the benefits are a good investment and are in keeping with the foundation’s moral and ethical principles.

Spiro John Latsis | The John S. Latsis Ileians Scholarships Foundation

John S. Latsis dedicated much of his time to worthwhile initiatives that would benefit people in Greece. The Greek businessman and entrepreneur established the John S. Latsis Ileians Scholarships Foundation. The foundation was officially formed in 1967 and operated for almost 45 years. The issue of scholarships and more specifically the provision of scholarships was something that was very important to John S. Latsis. The excellent work carried out by the foundation is now the responsibility of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation. His family play prominent roles on the supervisory board of the current foundation with Henrietta Latsis, Spiro John Latsis, Marianna Latsis and Margarita Latsis all maintaining a keen interest in its work.

Spiro John LatsisThe John S. Latsis Ileians Scholarships Foundation was established in order to assist students from his place of birth in Ileia. Many students were keen to continue their education, but in tough financial times were finding it increasingly difficult to finance their further education needs. The foundation offered students who had the drive and desire to continue their studies an opportunity to do so in the form of a scholarship. Any student from the county of Ileia was eligible to apply for one of the scholarships with almost 2000 of them benefitting from the scheme to date. Scholarships were available at all Greek universities together with some carefully selected universities outside of Greece.

The scholarships scheme assists students in the form of ongoing financial support, grants, funding and prizes for commitment and dedication to studies in the form of money. The responsibility of the scheme now falls to the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation. The supervisory board which consists of Henrietta Latsis, Spiro John Latsis, Marianna Latsis and Margarita Latsis ensures that opportunities are still available for students from Ileia, as well as for students from all over Greece.

In 2007, the John S. Latsis Ileians Scholarships Foundation provided huge financial support in the wake of the fires that broke out in Ileia. The foundation provided approximately four million Euros in order to help students from the area, the families of whom had been decimated by the breakout of the fires.

The John S Latsis Public Benefit foundation | Spiro Latsis

Founded in by its namesake, the John S Latsis Public Benefit Foundation is a charitable concern based in Geneva. The foundation helps and supports programmes in the areas of scientific research, culture, social welfare and education. The majority of the help is based in Greece with much of the work done abroad. However, funding mainly goes towards Greek projects.

Spiro LatsisOne of the more recent ventures which was funded by the John S Latsis Foundation was to help the country of Greece to find a way in which the government could reduce spends, deficit and the debt. This funded project will have many long term benefits and will make good consolidation plans with the aim of turning around the country’s recent economic failings.

John S Latsis was from a poor background and had to work when he was a child to help the family to stay afloat. He went on to education and graduated from the Pyrgos School of Commerce. He began a family of his own and had three children, one of whom is Spiro Latsis. John S Latsis worked to become a very successful man worth $3.1 billion. He traded petroleum products and set up Petorola Hellas, the first export refinery in Greece.

Spiro Latsis is currently a member of the board that manages the foundation.

The foundation supports a number of diverse studies and projects every year. It also sets up and runs its own programmes. The foundation regards the third parties as partners which allow them to have a set amount of funding. The foundation also provides support to enable them to put their plans in place and ensure that they get the most from the money that they are given.

The range of research and study initiatives supported is diverse and eclectic but are not just research for research sake. Projects applying for funding are expected to have a benefit – whether that is a move forward in medicine or aiding science do things better in the future, or having an economic benefit.

There is also an altruistic side to the funding. The John S. Latsis Foundation supports the Ileians Scholarships Foundation. This programme also operates in Greece and provides scholarships to students who are keen to carry on with their education and wish to go on to study for a PhD or a Masters. The programme encourages students to learn in Greece however, they will also fund students who want to go abroad to study.

Spiro Latsis | The man behind the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation

Established in 2005, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation was formed to continue the sterling work of Greek businessman and entrepreneur John S. Latsis. The foundation has assisted many groups and organisations for almost a decade and continues to attempt to identify and implement new initiatives for the benefit of the Greek people. 

Born in 1910, in Katakolo in the Peloponnese, John S. Latsis spent his formative years helping his family and spending time completing his studies. He was a dedicated student who graduated from the Pyrgos School of Commerce. In addition to his studies, John S. Latsis spent much of his time working to help his large family who were by no means wealthy.

Spiro LatsisAt the age of thirty, John S. Latsis met and married his wife, Henrietta Tsoukala. The couple would have three children named Spiro Latsis, Marianna Latsis and Margarita Latsis. The entrepreneur’s first foray into the business world centred around currant and other agricultural produce trade. During the mid 1940s,  John S. Latsis purchased his first small passenger vessel, which was followed by several other in the following year. The 1950s signalled his entry into the world of shipping, with the acquirement of cargo vessels and his first tanker, while passenger shipping activity continued and expanded overseas, with the transportation of thousands of pilgrims from Libya and other Muslim countries to Jeddah, for their annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

Due to his involvement in oil transportation and trade, by the early 1970s John S. Latsis had identified the potential in the oil and gas industry and proceeded to the construction of anoil refinery close to Athens in Greece, oriented mainly towards export services. John S. Latsis constructed another refinery later in his life when, in the 1980s, he built a refinery in Rabigh.

His business interests would diversify later in his life and in 1980 he began ventures in the financial sector. His first main project revolved around credit and finance when he bought the Banque de Depots in Geneva. This initial foray into the financial sector would prove to be extremely significant and would lead to a prolonged period of success for John S. Latsis and his family.

Despite his multitude of business interest, John S. Latsis was also dedicated to assisting charities and organisations. He established a number of foundations to assist people in Greece. Indicatively, he has supported Greek citizens after a series of earthquakes hit the country and provided equipment and facilities to many Greek authorities in order to improve their services. The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation still has a strong Latsis family influence with Henrietta Latsis, Spiro Latsis, Marianna Latsis and Margarita Latsis all members of the supervisory board.