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.