Monthly Archives: May 2014

John S. Latsis and his service to Greece

Spiro LatsisJohn S. Latsis was a hugely successful businessman and entrepreneur who was also a dedicated and committed public servant. Born in Katakolo in the Peloponnese, he spent his formative years both studying and working, so that he could help support his large family. His hard work was rewarded when he graduated from Pyrgos School of Commerce, a significant moment in his early life that would play an important role in his future success. This early success within the trade and commerce success would be of great benefit in future projects undertaken by the businessman.

In addition to his business interests, John S. Latsis was a dedicated husband to Henrietta Tsoukala and the pair had three children, Marianna, Margarita and Spiro Latsis. The first notable public service project that was established by John S. Latsis came in 1967 when he founded the John S. Latsis Ileians’ Scholarships Foundation. The aim of this project was to provide Greek students the opportunities to continue their education at a higher level. The scholarship scheme was designed to provide support and funding to students who could then go on and pursue their education and future careers. As it stands, the scholarship scheme has helped approximately 1,800 students complete their education.

Perhaps one of the most notable aspects of his public service work occurred during 1986 when his country was hit by severe earthquakes and the  area in particular was badly affected. John S. Latsis personally provided shelter, food and accommodation to approximately 1,000 people affected by the earthquake. This remarkable contribution was achieved by allowing those affected to stay on one of his many cruise ships for almost two years whilst new accommodation was constructed. In addition to this, John S. Latsis contributed greatly to the provision of the new accommodation by donating one of his factories to the Greek authorities so that they could efficiently provide pre-fabricated houses that were fit for purpose. He also provided support and financial assistance following the earthquakes that would cause destruction in Greece during 1988, 1993, 1995 and 1999 respectively.

Other notable public service work carried out by John S. Latsis included providing support, donations and equipment to many state-run departments such as the Greek Fire Department and the Ministry of Public Order. Due to the nature of his shipping business, John was very keen to assist Greek sailors and the families during hard times or emergency situations and this was one of the initiatives that was extremely close to his heart.

Spiro John Latsis: Projects the Latsis Foundation has supported

The Latsis Foundation, originally founded by the late John Spiro Latsis, involves itself in programmes and initiatives in Greece and other countries, where the Foundation supports social Spiro Latsiswelfare, cultural, educational and scientific research projects.

Officially known as the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, the Foundation’s supervisory board consists of president Henrietta Latsis, and members Marianna, Margarita and Dr. Spiro Latsis. In essence, it is the Foundation’s responsibility to implement and manage the public benefit works of all Latsis family members.

Among the various recent initiatives the Latsis Foundation has supported, several stand out as significant achievements for the Foundation and its partners. For example, the Latsio Burn Centre, which cares for serious burns victims and is the only one of this nature in southern Europe. It is a state-of-the-art burns clinic that the Foundation donated to Greece in 2005 and it has enabled the Greek health services sector to improve and widen the scope of assistance it can provide to burns victims.

Since 2008, the Foundation has branched out in its funding and has supported a large number of 1-year research projects, of which many have been research activities in scientific disciplines particularly relevant to Greece. These projects have enabled Greek and overseas universities to work more closely together and is has been the Foundation’s aim to promote such collaboration further. Given that Spiro John Latsis has a Master’s degree in Logic and Scientific Method and a Bachelor degree in Economics and a PhD in Philosophy such projects are understandably given a large platform as part of the Foundation’s overall funding initiatives.

Last year, the Latsis Foundation supported no fewer than 18 projects, which included research fields like Life Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities and Physical and Engineering. Every year, the Foundation issues a public call for the following year’s 12-month research projects. No fewer than 946 exciting proposals had to be considered for 2014, before the final 19 applications were selected for funding.

This year the Latsis Foundation will support research projects like the one the University of the Aegean’s Social Sciences and Humanities department is conducting into the intricacies of the Yevanic dialect. An equally interesting research project run by the University of Ioannina, which investigates consumers’ willingness to pay more for agricultural produce if it means workers can enjoy fairer conditions, is also among the chosen funding projects for 2014.

Spiro John Latsis is Furthering Greek Academia through Father’s Legacy

Although the organisation has been around for nearly a decade, it was not until 2008 that the John S. Latsis Foundation began funding one year research projects in not just Greece, but in universities throughout Europe. The Foundation was set up two years after the death of Greek entrepreneur, John Latsis who also spent many years and his own money in helping spiro john latsiswelfare and scientific projects. Currently, the Foundation is growing annually with continued applicants from the field of science making full use of the organisation’s funding.

Continuing Latsis’ philanthropic work is his son, Spiro John Latsis who forms part of the supervisory board along with other members of his family. In order to remain a viable non profit organisation, the supervisory board has to work alongside the board of executives in deciding which applicant can receive funding. This combination of shrewd business sense with the humanist qualities inherited by the Latsis’ family members has ensured that the Foundation can continue helping the neediest of applicants without stretching the budget too far.

The primary function of the Foundation is to assist Greek research institutions and universities in a variety of scientific fields. Co-operation between Greek universities and others in Europe is also promoted by the Latsis Foundation in order to further advance Greek higher education. An open call is made for applications each year, which outlines what the Foundation is looking for in beneficiaries as the boards behind the organisation are committed to helping as many people as possible.

In 2008, the first year in which the Foundation decided to focus on education, there were 10 successful applications. Each following year has seen the Latsis legacy extend to ever more research projects, the highest of which was in 2010 when as many as 21 successful applications were made. There are three primary areas of science in which the Foundation focus their attention on; social sciences, physics and engineering as well as the life sciences. Every year, the organisation attempts to address each three years with an equal amount of funding, testament to the commitment it has to furthering all sciences.