The Last Agorà

12 A Framework for the Future The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s largest single grant. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is one of the world’s leading private, international philanthropic organisations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. Since 1996, the Foundation has committed more than $2.4 billion, through more than 4,000 grants to nonprofit organisations in 119 nations around the world. The idea for the SNFCC started to form in 1998 with the SNF’s decision to support the construction of new facilities for the National Library of Greece (NLG). The plan was consistent with the Foundation’s extensive and continuous support of a wide variety of educational initiatives worldwide. The vision for the National Library was that of a public institution that would provide access to the world of knowledge and information to learners of all ages, offer a wide range of research and information resources, and connect with other libraries in Greece, as well as with other National Libraries around the world. At the same time and independent of this initiative, the Foundation was considering a proposal to support the Greek National Opera (GNO), an institution also in need of a major physical and therefore organisational upgrade. An exciting possibility emerged from these disparate plans, one that was a perfect synthesis of the Foundation’s mission and its commitment to Greece, and could provide a lasting and transformative impact. The site allocated for the purposes of this project’s development presented an exciting opportunity to provide the Greek people with a great civic, cultural, educational and environmentally responsible landmark of international stature in one site. In funding the SNFCC, the Foundation’s vision was to provide the country and the city with the new institutional foundations it needs to move forward and with a framework for the future. The SNFCC is the first public-private partnership of its kind in Greece, and the largest cultural/educational project ever undertaken in the country. As one of the biggest projects in recent Greek history, the center is an engine of short- and mid-term economic stimulus. It is a testament and commitment to the country’s future. The SNF chose the joint venture of the Italian company Salini Impregilo and the Greek company Terna through an extensive process following international standards. The project’s total cost exceeded $860 million. The Foundation delivered the SNFCC to Greek Society on February 23, 2017. Following the handover, the SNF announced its commitment to continue supporting the SNFCC for five years, through grants of $53 million that support the implementation of public programming and help cover a portion of SNFCC’s operational costs. All events funded with the SNF’s support are free to the public.