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The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) recently announced its intention to support the Greek Health sector with a series of grants totaling at least $240 million. On March 21, 2018, the SNF and the Greek State signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the grant initiative, marking the first step in this philanthropic partnership. Today, at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, the Prime Minister, Mr. Alexis Tsipras, and the Co-President of the SNF, Mr. Andreas Dracopoulos met to discuss the progress of the grants.

Additionally, Mr. Renzo Piano, the architect designing the infrastructure of the projects and Mr. Ronald Daniels, President of Johns Hopkins University (JHU), both attended the meeting. JHU is advising the SNF in the implementation of the grant.

As part of the meeting, Renzo Piano and his team from Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) presented preliminary design approaches for the infrastructure projects.

Following the presentation, Andreas Dracopoulos, Renzo Piano, and Ronald Daniels, met with the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos.

The Health Initiative is structured around seven projects. Each project addresses funding priorities issued by the Health Ministry, thus, the project is specifically tailored to Greece’s health system. The total budget for all projects is expected to exceed $240 million.

The implementation of the first of seven projects is already underway. The equipment for the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens, Greece, has already been selected. Specifically, the equipment includes, inter alia, hospital beds, surgical equipment, laparoscopic towers, equipment for the Radiology Department, the ENT Department and the Maxillofacial Department, endoscopic machines, stretchers, patient monitors, respirators, defibrillators, and more. 

The SNF’s grant initiative includes the following :

The design, construction and outfitting of a new building for the General Hospital of Komotini

The design, construction and outfitting of a Children’s Hospital in Thessaloniki

The design, construction and outfitting of a new building to be erected in the current location of the Sisters’ House and Nursing Sisters’ buildings on the premises of the General Hospital “Evangelismos”, in Athens. The building will serve as the Chair of the University’s Faculty of Nursing and take the place of the Sisters’ House and Nursing Sisters’ building. 

The procurement and installation of equipment for the General Hospital “Evangelismos” (currently underway)

The procurement of new equipment, and the maintenance of existing equipment for the National Center for Emergency Care’s (EKAV) air ambulance services

The procurement and the installation of special medical equipment (Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and radiopharmaceutical production units) in selected public medical institutions across the country

Funding the creation and the implementation of educational programs regarding hospital infections and trauma treatment

During the meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr. Dracopoulos discussed the progress made on all fronts since signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the Greek State, on March 21, 2018.

This is described in detail below:

The SNF held its first meetings with the relevant project groups designated by the Greek State, for all seven projects included in the grant initiative.

Specifically, for the three infrastructure projects (Komotini, Thessaloniki, Athens-Evangelismos), following the signing of the MoU, the SNF, along with Renzo Piano and RPBW, visited the three areas, where they met with representatives of the grantee organizations, and made on-site visits at the existing infrastructure points, and the sites of the new infrastructure projects. Meetings have already taken place at the architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) in Genova, as the design of the projects continues. Simultaneously, for the other four grants, meetings have taken place with the working groups designated by the Greek State, discussing the first steps of implementation and setting work schedules.

For the optimal design and implementation of the projects, the SNF’s team is complemented by a team of partners to maximize execution on the basis of international standards and best practices. The coordination of the projects and all the consultants, on behalf of the SNF, has been undertaken by Hill International, who acts as project manager.

A team from the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine International is collaborating with the SNF in an advisory capacity. Johns Hopkins University is based in Baltimore, USA, and has been a long-term partner of the Foundation in a variety of grants around the globe. The scientific personnel of Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, with their significant experience, have undertaken a consulting role for all seven projects, in order to transfer the expertise of major US hospitals to Greece.

Regarding the infrastructure projects, following the successful model of the Stavros Niarchos Foundational Cultural Center (SNFCC), the RPBW team is working closely with the Greek architectural office, Betaplan, as well as several other local partners, including the landscape architect, Helli Pangalou, who will undertake the design and execution of the study for the surrounding spaces.

RPBW is also working closely with the British firm Llewelyn Davies, which specializes in healthcare architectural design and is expected to contribute with its experience in large-scale projects in the healthcare sector.

Following the example of the creation of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, and in order to secure the smooth development of the SNF’s new large-scale grant, a nonprofit special purpose vehicle (SPV) has been established to undertake the coordination, management and implementation of the projects. The company, under the name “Health Initiative SA” (Greek: Πρωτοβουλία για την Υγεία Α.Ε.), is a nonprofit, controlled during the implementation phase of the projects, and until their completion and delivery to the Greek State, by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. After completion and delivery of the projects to the State, the SPV will cease to exist. The establishment of the company is expected to be ratified by law by the Greek Parliament soon.

For its part, the Greek State has proceeded with the establishment of project groups, as well as a Special Advisory Committee, which will meet on a regular basis with the representatives of the SNF.

The Committee comprises of representatives of the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Environment and Energy, the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport, and Networks, the National Center for Emergency Care (EKAV), the Nursing Department of the School of Health Sciences of the University of Athens, as well as representatives responsible for the educational programs. The frequency, composition and themes of the Committee meetings will be determined by the development and maturity of the individual projects.

The SNF’s Health Initiative is a long-term project, comprising multiple individual projects, aiming to strengthen Public Health in Greece. This grant is representative of the philosophy and mission of the SNF to support programs contributing to public-private partnerships in order to effectively support the common good.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is committed to providing regular quarterly updates for the timely and comprehensive information of all citizens on the progress of the initiative’s implementation.

Architectural Designs by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop

During the meeting with the Prime Minister, the architect Renzo Piano presented the preliminary designs for the three infrastructure projects: the new General Hospital of Komotini, the Children’s Hospital in Thessaloniki, as well as the building at Evangelismos Hospital in Athens that will serve as the Chair of the University’s Faculty of Nursing. Particular emphasis in the discussion was given to the architect’s people-centric approach in the design of the projects, the integration of each project into its natural environment, the use of natural light, and the respect, through the creation of infrastructure, for the needs of the people who are hospitalized, their friends and families, and the employees of the structures to be erected.


During the meeting held at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, the Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Alexis Tsipras, stated: “Once again, I would like to thank you for your invaluable contribution and tangible support to the Greek Health sector -a vital area for every single citizen. And, of course, I would like to thank Renzo Piano for his contribution and for his presence here today. I am convinced that we will not only make a momentous impact by covering the essential needs of the Health sector, but also a remarkable architectural contribution to the urban landscape leading to significant interventions”.

The Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Mr. Andreas Dracopoulos, stated: “The implementation of the Health Initiative is well underway. The SNF team has turned its attention to the great and demanding work ahead of us, having activated a wide network of partners from around the world, following the successful implementation model of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. In this effort, we are fortunate enough to have teamed up, once again, both with Renzo Piano and the RPBW team, as well as a set of internationally renowned specialists who are experts in their fields, such as the Johns Hopkins University and Medicine teams, while we are also in constant coordination with the relevant groups designated by the Greek State, truly cooperating for a common goal.”

Architect Renzo Piano stated: “It is always a great privilege and also a great responsibility to design hospitals. This specific project for the Greek Health System, supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, is of utmost importance and it is part of my ambition, as an architect, to design for medical science and for a humanistic vision of our society”.

The President of Johns Hopkins University, Ronald Daniels, stated: “We are delighted to build on the decades long partnership between the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Johns Hopkins to advance this important initiative. The Health Initiative speaks to our shared commitment to harness expertise across disciplines, institutions, and even nations to address our global health challenges and to serve the public good. The health of any nation and its people remains essential to its enduring success, and we are proud to work with such partners as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and Greece’s leaders to bring high quality and accessible healthcare to the nation”.

A few words on the SNF’s grants to support healthcare in Greece:

The new grant initiative follows on the heels of a previous SNF grant to the National Center for Emergency Care (EKAV), totaling $15 million, which was recently completed, and which covered the procurement of 143 state-of-the-art ambulances and their full maintenance for a period of 8 years, as well as the digital upgrade of EKAV’s operations center. Since 1996, the start of the SNF’s grantmaking activity, the SNF has already provided grants of more than $130 million for the support of health programs in Greece.

Past grants in the health sector include a grant, totaling $23 million, to support the replacement of 10 obsolete linear accelerators in seven public hospitals around the country, a grant for the renovation of all Pediatric Intensive Care Units (ICUs), as well as a grant for the construction and complete outfitting of hostels to house the relatives of patients in hospitals around the country. In addition, the SNF’s initiative for the establishment of the Mobile Medical Units, in collaboration with the NGO “Regeneration and Progress”, has wielded significant results in providing healthcare programs to residents of islands and remote areas in Greece.