Reflections on 25 Years of Grantmaking

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Rosalyn Benjamin, Program Officer, Athens

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

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.