Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Neraida Floating Museum

The Neraida Floating Museum was commissioned by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation; a non-profit organisation founded in 2005 to continue the charitable work of John S. Latsis. The Neraida was originally a passenger boat that was bought by John Latsis in 1949 as an addition to his shipping business. The vessel was in use for nearly 25 years before it was decommissioned at the Eleusis port for over 3 decades. The Latsis family never considered turning the Neraida into scrap and under the supervision of John’s son, Spiro Latsis, it was transported to Croatia in September 2007 for restoration and its conversion into the floating museum it is today.

When he purchased the Neraida, John S. Latsis was steadily growing his stock as an astute businessman. He had interests in many sectors of the economy, including shipping, petroleum refining, banking, construction and agriculture. As his business interests expanded, so did his benevolence towards the less fortunate amongst Greek society. Among his first acts of charity was the establishment of a scholarship foundation to help students from his home region.

Between 1986 and 1995, a series of earthquakes struck the areas of Pyrgos, Kalamata and Grevena. Recognising the need to help wounded and displaced Greek residents, John Latsis contributed extensively towards the recovery efforts. Various agencies such as the Seamen’s Pension Fund and the Hellenic Fire Brigade received substantial donations to help their efforts towards the affected people. For his considerate nature, John Latsis was presented with numerous awards and honours. He lived a full life, with his compassionate character passing on to his family upon his death in April 2003.

Two years later, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation was established. Since its inception, it has taken on various programmes aimed at meeting the current needs of society. Specifically, the foundation has managed and funded plans that touch on numerous fields, including science, health, education, the environment, culture and social welfare. The Neraida Floating Museum is a diversified branch of the foundation’s activities, with its purpose being to highlight Greece’s maritime history and to host public benefit events.

Through the leadership of Supervisory and Executive Boards, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation oversees programmes that bring positive social change. Additionally, it also provides grants in cases of emergency relief and has numerous initiatives that seek to develop and reward academic research and infrastructural and community development.

The Symplefsi Group Sponsors the “Diaplous 2016” Event

The Symplefsi Group Sponsors the “Diaplous 2016” Event

The Symplefsi (or +plefsi) group is a non-profit organisation that supports people living in the outlying Greek islands by helping to improve the overall living conditions. Since its inception, the group has made various efforts to help the inhabitants of these islands. In 2016, the organisation was part of the Diaplous 2016 event, which focused on crossing the Aegean Sea to take supplies and equipment to schools on 9 islands located in Greece’s border regions.

Specifically, Diaplous 2016 focused on using funds donated by the Neraida Floating Museum to provide schools with electronic and educational equipment, including projectors and computers. The museum is an initiative of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, which is overseen by Greek businessman Spiro Latsis, amongst others. Additionally, the learning institutions also received furniture (tables, bookshelves, seats), educational games and consumable items. Prior communication between schools and the Symplefsi group helped to determine the type of gifts that would be fully utilised by the schools.S.Latsis-Misc

The cause saw 80 volunteers sign up to donate the equipment to the schools; with their efforts requiring the use of 11 inflatable boats. The entire event spanned across 11 days, with volunteers visiting the islands of Agathonisi, Arki, Kimolos, Lipsi, Levita, Patmos, Schinousa, Sikinos, and Folegandros. The schools’ students were also presented with children’s book displays, photographic exhibitions and a workshop to discourage smoking.

Symplefsi’s activities are purely voluntary, with much of its work focused on providing free medical examinations and improving infrastructure in local communities. The 2016 event saw many major infrastructure programmes launched across the 9 islands.

The Spiritual and Cultural Center on the isle of Patmos was equipped with air conditioners, audio equipment, chairs, offices and a library. Agathonisi benefited from a new rubbish truck, necessary for improved waste collection efforts on the island. In Sikinos, an emergency evacuation vehicle, fitted with modern ambulance systems, was donated to help transfer people in need of hospitalisation. In addition to these donations, more than 40 specialist doctors were on hand to conduct medical tests to more than 1,100 residents, with almost 500 blood samples collected for further testing. After analysis, the specialist doctors were able to advise local doctors on how to proceed with individual cases.

Building for the Future: Supporting the Renovations of an Iconic Athens Outpatients Clinic

After three years of hard work from a number of dedicated parties, renovations of the outpatient clinic at the Panagiotis and Aglaia Kyriakou General Children’s Hospital in Athens were completed in June 2016. A key factor in the success of the initiative was the support contributed from a selection of non-profit organisations, including the renowned John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation. Only too happy to be a part of the valuable renovations, the foundation provided much-needed research and funding that helped bring the project to life.

About the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation

Established in 2005, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation is a non-profit organisation that was launched to continue the legacy of John S. Latsis. Born into a large family with little money, John was required to work from an early age as a means of contributing to the family home. He quickly transformed into an avid and skilled entrepreneur and his successful business activities extended over seven decades across a huge range of industries. The consistency of his dedication to his work did not falter even whilst raising his three children; Marianna, Margarita and Spiro Latsis. Alongside his entrepreneurial on goings, John also set up a number of public benefit initiatives with the aim of giving back to his community and Greece as a whole.

As part of its mission, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation plans, manages and funds a wide range of initiatives, including health and social welfare and cultural and environmental projects. The foundation continually aims to remain in sync with current social needs and has a particularly strong desire to support children’s needs in key areas including health, education and creative activities. This desire was what drove the organisation to become involved with the renovations of the outpatients clinic at the Panagiotis and Aglaia Kyriakou General Children’s Hospital in Athens. The hospital works closely with young people to promote fast recovery within a positive atmosphere. The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation recognised the hospital’s vision and provided help and support throughout the project.

Delivering Vital Renovations

As a part of the project, a number of studies were funded by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation. These studies revealed the extent to which the hospital required renovations to ensure the high level of care provided could continue in the future. According to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, another organisation that contributed to the project, the general hospital has treated many serious cases concerning ill children from all over Greece over its twenty years in operation: the hospital accommodates a total of 12,000 cases annually. In addition, the hospital is the only facility that trains medical students during their final years of study at the University of Athens Medical School, making it unique in its field. It is these impressive credentials that made it even more important and desirable for the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation to be a part of this significant project.

Once the project was complete, the renovated section of the outpatients clinic was inaugurated on 24th June 2016. Carried out over three years, the construction was funded by the LIDL HELLAS company in collaboration with the NGO Anichti Angalia, who co-ordinated the project. The renovations included the construction of a much-needed pharmacy, alongside the additional space needed to accommodate the requirements of the hospital’s outpatients clinic. Based on the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation’s funded research, the renovations were also specifically intended to be practical when handling large numbers of patients, whilst also retaining a friendly and welcoming environment for young patients. The hospital also received brand new clinics, a lobby, waiting area and shower areas within the Endocrinology department. Additionally, within the housing department, two new sites were created for housing structure clinics aimed at rehabilitating abused children.

Spiro Latsis

Looking Ahead

According to the board of directors at the hospital, every party involved with the renovations are now looking forward to a brighter future for the children who visit the hospital. Specifically, the hospital’s spokespeople have thanked all organisations involved in helping to make the project a reality.

Commenting on the finished renovations, Mariogka Fragaki, Board Chairman, said, “The Board of Directors of the Children’s Hospital Panagiotis & Aglaia Kyriakou express their sincere thanks to LIDL HELLAS and Mrs. Yolanda Vlachos, President of Friends of Social Paediatrics and Medicine, whose love and concern drove LIDL HELLAS in this important sponsorship”.

She added, “LIDL HELLAS’s sponsorship and the study donated by the Latsis Foundation, helped to create an appropriate area for regular outpatient clinics that will now serve an even greater number of children”.