The J. F. Costopoulos Foundation, a non-profit charitable institution, was founded in 1979, on the occasion of the centenary of the Alpha Bank, then operating as Credit Bank, in memory of its founder John F. Costopoulos by its then Chairman, the late Spyros Costopoulos and his wife Eurydice. In accordance with its purpose, as it is stipulated by its Articles of Association and Operation, the Foundation continuously supports the safeguard and promotion of the Greek culture, literature and the arts both in Greece and abroad.
The present 2011 Annual Report of the J.F. Costopoulos Foundation reflects the intense impact of the current crisis on our financial data and activities. Given this, our Board of Trustees approved limited donations in terms of amounts, in comparison with grants approved on past activities and programmes. However, the donations granted still focus on fields traditionally supported by our Foundation. Since the beginning of 2012, we have presented the fields of our supported activities, as noted in our 30th Anniversary Report issued in 2010: cultural heritage and tradition, science and research, education and studies, arts and social contribution. These five areas constitute our main fields of activity, and in accordance with our articles of association, reflect our aim to promote Greek civilisation.
In the varied, in expression and aspects, field of cultural heritage we supported initiatives related to excavations, thematic publications and historic exhibitions as well as projects initiated by cultural organisations and the Church. Special and representative of the way it secures elements of the lost Greek landscape, is the reprinting of the 1991 Greek publication of the initial 1933 French edition of the volume entitled “Following Ulysses’s ship”. Upon our Foundation’s initiative and with its support, the enriched reprinting revives a panorama of Mediterranean Homeric voyage sites of Ulysses’s return to Ithaca. This special publication is the fruit of the cooperation between the French archaeologist and Homerist Victor Bérard, and the Swiss photographer Fred Boissonas. Furthermore, we supported important initiatives commemorating the first years of the 20th century with respect to the 100th anniversary of the Balkan Wars and the Union of Crete with Greece. Accordingly, we contributed to two thematic exhibitions with archival material of the National Research Foundation “Eleftherios K. Venizelos” focusing on the era leading to 1913. Another initiative aimed to the enrichment of the collection of the Museum of the Balkan Wars, housed in the Modiano Mansion at Gefyra near Thessaloniki, where the Turks signed the protocol surrendering Thessaloniki to the Greeks in October 1912.
Other initiatives, supported by our Foundation, constitute representative, albeit small scale, efforts to protect our cultural heritage. We mention the activities on the impact of local communities on monuments by the “Monumenta” Society for the protection of the natural and architectural heritage in Greece and Cyprus, the educational programmes at the Neolithic settlement at Avgi near the city of Kastoria, as well as the creation of a digital collection of scenes from prehistoric excavations of the 19th and 20th centuries by the “Aegeus” - Society for Aegean Prehistory.
In the field of research and science, related to that of education and studies, our contribution has been once again in line with our Foundation’s tradition. It includes conferences, research Fellowships and academic Chairs of Studies, completion and publication of dissertations and research projects. In this framework, two conferences are worth mentioning. One was realised, with our support, by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in memory of the emeritus Professor of Literature and eminent Hellenist Panagiotis Moullas. More than one hundred Hellenists from all over Greece and Europe participated to pay tribute commensurate to the honored scholar’s very rich research and teaching interests in the study of modern Greek literature and literary critique since the late18th century until today. The second was the realisation, with our support, of the Fifth Congress of the Greek General and Comparative Literature Association focusing on the poetics of landscape. The multifaceted landscapes of the literary works provided a platform of discussion and presentations by distinguished participant scientists. This event was realised with the co-operation of the Institute for Neohellenic Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation.
The Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) / “Stavros Costopoulos” Research Fellowship was supported once again by our Foundation. This Fellowship offers scholars the opportunity to undertake the publication of extended studies, informative articles and policy papers in the Greek and international press, to participate in conferences and to provide information to diplomats, professors, researchers, students and businessmen.
In the field of arts, where our Foundation, apart from various financial contributions, organizes its own productions, we supported once again all aspects of cultural expression: visual arts exhibitions, theatre, music, dance and documentaries. Basic criterion to support such initiatives is the importance of the relevant project, as well as our intention to encourage experimental pilot efforts and new artists.
Another important cultural event that is taking place this year with our support, as well as the A.G. Leventis Foundation’s and the Bodossaki Foundation’s support, is the exhibition entitled “Edward Lear and the Ionian islands”. The exhibition, hosted at the Corfu Museum of Asian Art, presents Lear’s watercolours, lithographs and drawings with scenes from the Ionian Islands. It pays homage to the English writer, poet and artist, who with devotion and love traveled on foot in the Ionian Islands, as well as in the rest of Greece and other countries during the late 19th century. The exhibition aspires to become an ark of memory and aesthetics of the lost Greek landscapes, such as the aforementioned works of Bérard and Boissonas.
Other cultural programmes with a research and experimental character were also financed by our Foundation. The theatrical company “Dromos me Dentra” organised with our support a festival regarding the study and staging of an experimental act on six of the less presented tragedies by the ancient tragic playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. The presentation of each tragedy was approached as a work in progress, open to the public and to students, focusing on the tragic “logos” and its topical issues. Accordingly, the theatre company of Xenia Kalogeropoulou named Anichti Porta, with an important tradition in its sector, realised an innovative research programme on the multiple benefits of theatrical practice in education. Similar film-documentation of experimental actions was produced by the director Spyros Tsiftsis in his work entitled “Urban Void”. The venture is based on archival material from recorded visual arts and architectural actions, representing non built areas of Athens, designated as void urban spaces because of the ambiguity in respect to their identity, use or legal status. These actions provided a platform for fruitful discussions focusing on changes and transformations of the function of urban spaces.
Finally, as social contribution, our Foundation has financed certain initiatives whose scope covers the welfare of children, environmental societies with educational programmes and cultural groups which tend to relieve social groups in difficulty through means with which we are familiar, such as education and art. We thus express our support to the needs of Greek society during this period of economic and social crisis. The Efstathia J. Costopoulos Foundation still stands for our most representative and important contribution in this field. Since the beginning of its operation in 1993, the Foundation, through “Yiayia’s Garden” model nursery school, offers a secure haven to infants and pre-school age children from families in financial difficulty or socially disrupted, providing benefits based on highstandard educational models. Similar are the aims of the society “Heliotropio” which conducts experimental educational programmes such as the special programme for children with and without disabilities carried out thanks to our support in the Dodecanese. The hundreds of children who participated, prove the need for such contributions to local communities.
Last but important as to the substance of our social contribution is the support we provided to the New Art Scene for mounting presentations of theatrical plays in hospitals and institutions for childcare. Our Foundation supported once again the programme of seventy eight performances that were held in reception halls, rooms and corridors of hospitals. Indicative of the importance of this venture is the fact that in some cases the performance was given for only one child, with serious health problems.
Board of Trustees Administration
Yannis S. Costopoulos Hector P. Verykios
Anastasia S. Costopoulos Katerina H. Koskina
Vice-Chairman Artistic Director
Demetrios P. Mantzounis Athanassios G. Efthimiopoulos
Treasurer Financial Services
Thanos M. Veremis
Theodoros N. Filaretos Meni E. Strongili
Trustee Magda N. Tzepkinli