Reflections on 25 Years of Grantmaking

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Asimina Koutroumpousi, SNF Creative Director

Asimina has been part of the SNF team for thirteen years

Has the nature of your work changed over the years?

The nature of our work at SNF is constantly evolving and adapting to what is happening in the world. Each year seems like a new beginning, a new challenge to tackle; new ideas, new partnerships, new faces.

Ange Munyakazi, Program Officer, Monaco

Ange has been at SNF for three years. She is an avid reader with a strong interest in human rights.

Has the nature of your job as part of SNF’s work changed over the years?

I strongly believe that every day is an opportunity to learn, and so is life and work. Our work has evolved since COVID-19, as the world changed overnight and we saw very quickly a health and socio-economic crisis. We learned to adapt our internal processes to be much quicker in our evaluation and getting the funds to the grantees—and to be closer to our grantees to understand how best to support them.

Rachel Seliniotakis, SNF Administrative – Office Assistant, Monaco

Born in Nice to Greek parents and raised with her twin brother in France, she studied Public and International Corporate Relations at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. She entered the philanthropic domain in 2011 and has been a part of the SNF team since 2014.

What’s a grant that’s stuck with you over time?

Being Greek and raised in France by Greek parents, I have this deep love for my homeland. I am very grateful to SNF for the grant made to the Greek Orthodox Church of our region. Indeed, this grant allowed a part of its renovation, including the construction of a bell tower.

Taylor Glazebrook, SNF Communications Officer, New York

What’s your favorite part of working at SNF?

My favorite part of working at SNF is that it’s our job to learn. By design, SNF’s work responds to needs on the ground, and we spend our time learning about work people are doing all over the world to improve others’ circumstances, and we are fortunate to work with leaders of their fields

Christina Ataroglou, SNF Legal Officer, Athens

Born and raised in Athens, Christina joined SNF in September 2020

What’s your favorite part of working at SNF?

Grantmaking and philanthropy in general is a dynamic area which is heading towards new and innovative ways of helping those in need by different means while sharing a common goal— empowering humanity!

Thanassis Politis, SNF Deputy Group Chief IT Officer, Athens

Thanassis has been at SNF since 1996, the Foundation’s first year, and is part of the team that helps make its annual SNF Nostos celebration happen.

What’s a grant that’s stuck with you over time?

The SNFCC grant! Foundation’s largest single grant!

Rick Petty, SNF Chief Investment Officer, New York

2021 marks Rick’s 20th year working for SNF and related companies. Prior to arriving at SNF, he spent 20 years working in asset management, risk management, custody services and investment consulting. Despite moving to New York from the Midwest, he still maintains his Midwestern roots by spending summer vacations at a family home on Lake Michigan.

Why is SNF’s mission important to you?

It is wonderful to be engaged with an organization that is entirely focused on benefiting humanity on a global scale.

David Burgos, Office Assistant, New York

Member of the SNF team for 28 years

Why is SNF’s mission important to you?

It matters to me in the sense that there are a lot of individuals, organizations, people in different countries who are in need of help. If SNF didn’t get involved, it’s one more organization, individual, or country not getting the help they need.

Loukia Synodinou, Grants Administrator, Athens

Originally from the island of Amorgos, Loukia loves traditional Greek dance and has been a member of the SNF family for three years

You get a comprehensive overview of the needs that exist in our society, in different areas, from different perspectives, in different social groups, and different parts of the world. It’s magical to be able to know the needs of an organization in a small town in India as well as those of a major organization that’s active internationally, and to contribute to meeting them.

Roula Siklas, Senior Program Officer, New York

First-generation American, second hire of SNF New York’s programs team, and forever a student

What’s a site visit that stands out in your memory?

The “Happy Birthday” song in Greek calls on the person being celebrated to grow old and wise and spread their wisdom. Some people get to do all three of these things well, and I met someone like this during one of my first site visits as a program officer at SNF. The visit was to a big, almost windowless brick building in the Bronx, where this man, Mr. John Isaacs, then in his early 90s, had shown up daily for the past fifty years.

Bernard Guilbaud, Chief Operating Officer of SNF’s Monte Carlo Office and SNF Senior Information & Technology Officer

Bernard Guilbaud has been with SNF for almost 14 years. He lives in Gattières, France, is married with three children and a golden retriever (Obiwan), speaks French and English (tries to learn Greek), enjoys Gary Larson’s Far Side, and regularly plays tennis.

What’s a grant that’s stuck with you over time?

NO FINISH LINE Monaco is an annual one week charity event created in 1999. During this event, anyone can walk/run/crawl kilometers that are converted to euros by the nonprofit Children and Future, which then makes donations to nonprofit organizations that focus on children. The goal is to promote, defend, and respect the rights of children around the world, as well as to protect and improve their well-being and living conditions.

Titica Emmanouil, SNF Events Coordinator, Athens

Irredeemable optimist, wanderlust sufferer, and member of the SNF Team for 17 years and counting

What’s a grant that’s stuck with you over time?

There is a grant that not only I, but also my children and grandchildren, will remember. A grant that—we hope—all Greeks will keep enjoying. A monument of unparalleled architectural beauty, a meeting place, a space for connecting with others, for learning and creativity.

John C. Czvekus, Co-Deputy Chief Investment Officer, New York

A recovering banker and proud graduate of the School of Hard Knocks, South Bronx campus

What led you to join SNF?

I half-jokingly say that my 20-year career prior to joining SNF in 2009 was an apprenticeship preparing me for my current role. My previous professional career gave me exposure to virtually all aspects of international banking and capital markets thanks to some fantastic mentors and a lot of good fortune. Knowing “how the sausage is made” helps me get things done, whether it’s navigating market risks, identifying investment opportunities or even finding the right person with the right information.

Rosalyn Benjamin, Program Officer, Athens

Athenian who worked in the creative sector in London prior to joining the Foundation in 2013

What’s a site visit that stands out in your memory?

When I first joined the Foundation, the Grants Against the Greek Crisis initiative had been running for a year and had supported numerous social welfare and health-related projects. Greece was still experiencing a severe socioeconomic crisis, and the city of Drama in Northern Greece was one of the most affected areas.

Dimitra Chatzivasiliou, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Athens

Member of SNF’s finance team for more than 10 years

What’s a grant that’s stuck with you over time?

It was a two-day mission with the Mobile Medical Units to a small island in the eastern Aegean called Ai Stratis. Visiting two hundred people in the middle of nowhere to share the essential gift of health is more than an experience—it is actually a blessing.

Alex Simon-Fox, Program Officer, New York

Brooklynite and outer-borough enthusiast, five years at SNF

What’s a site visit that stands out in your memory?

The site visits that stand out the most are the ones where I encounter worlds I wouldn’t see otherwise.

I visited a prison where grantee Hour Children facilitates visitation between women incarcerated there and their children. It wasn’t easy or cheap to get to; there were wait times, intense security, and you couldn’t bring anything with you. Unsurprisingly, when visitation requires a guardian with the time, means, and will to make this trip, it often can’t happen—and when kids do arrive it’s scary. Hour Children combats this by providing transport for kids and carving out safe, inviting spaces where they can spend time with their mothers.

Anna Maria Kosmoglou, Program Officer, Athens

Athens downtown dweller. Loves to dance, all kinds of music but especially swing. Always interested in learning something new.

What’s a site visit that stands out in your memory?

The first time you visit an organization that deals with disability is an intense experience for anyone. My first time was at the premises of Cerebral Palsy Greece – “Open Door,” a nonprofit that cares for people with cerebral palsy by providing comprehensive services to children and adults and ongoing support to their families, always aiming to ensure social integration for people with disabilities. I thought I knew what I was going to see in such a space, but I did not expect how I would experience it. It turned out to be a very emotional experience.

Eddie Moy, Senior Information & Technology Officer, New York

Staten Island local and SNF team member for two years

What’s a grant that’s stuck with you over time?

The grants to the FDNY Foundation, the official nonprofit for the New York City Fire Department which provides support for new programs and equipment for the Department, as well as support for FDNY personnel, including in the EMT/EMS division. I have several close family and friends who are part of the FDNY, so this is close to me.

Casey Russo, Program Officer, New York

I have worked at SNF for two years, and interned here in 2011 and 2012. I grew up in a suburb outside of New York City, and I currently live in NYC. Another fun fact: I have run two half marathons.

What was the first grant you followed for the Foundation?

The first grant that I followed for SNF was our three-year partnership with THE CITY, a local news outlet that covers stories across all five boroughs of New York City. THE CITY’s work continues to inspire me, especially because of its commitment to local neighborhoods. THE CITY, unlike many other news outlets, ensures that the issues facing marginalized communities are heard. This work has taken on even more importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, as THE CITY has become a resource for local pandemic-related information, and has also paid tribute to the individual lives lost.

Kira Pritchard, Program Officer, New York

Retired rower, champion of the arts, SNF family member six years and counting

What was the first grant you followed for the Foundation?
One of my first partnerships was with The Laundromat Project, “an arts organization that advances artists and neighbors as change agents in their own communities.” It could not have been a better way to start my journey, working with the visionary Kemi Ilesanmi and her stellar team. To this day, I am still inspired by The LP’s values, especially “Be Propelled by Love.” I mean, how cool is that?

Aristi Stathakopoulou, Program Officer, Athens

I was born and raised in Aigio, a small seaside town in the Peloponnese, and now live in the center of Athens. I have worked at SNF for 8 years.

What are three things you have learned since starting work at SNF?
1. Whether it’s a priest in a remote Greek village, an academic from a renowned U.S. university, or someone experiencing homelessness in the center of Athens, everyone has a story to share.

George Michalakopoulos, Senior Technical Grants Officer, Athens

13 years + 13 months + 13 days with SNF and counting

What’s a grant that’s stuck with you over time?

One of the first grants that I handled was the expansion of the meteorological station network (30 stations) run by the National Observatory of Athens. I was impressed with the speed, the quality, and the impact of the result produced. Even now, 14 years later, many of these meteorological stations and the software developed for them are still providing free meteorological information to researchers and the public.