A Funder Answering the Distress Call on Humanitarian Disasters Large and Small

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is without a doubt, very Greek-centric in its grantmaking. That countrywhere there is no shortage of pressing needs these daystakes top priority in the foundation’s giving.

That said, the Niarchos Foundation also gives pretty widely to international organizations working outside of Greece, including U.S.-based NGOs with global missions. The foundation has an office in New York, on Madison Avenue. And lately, the foundation has been pretty dialed-in when it comes to the ongoing disasters and calamities of the world—both natural and manmade.

Related: Stavros Niarchos Foundation: Grants for Global Development

A quick example, here, is that the foundation awarded €1,750,000 in emergency relief grants to various humanitarian NGOs responding to the European refugee crisis. The foundation recently awarded another such emergency relief grant, this time in response to a natural disaster—the protracted drought in Ethiopia.   

Conditions caused by Ethiopia’s drought became more acute as the El Niño weather phenomenon began marching its way across the globe, leading to below-average rains across the country. As a result, the need for food assistance alone saw a 55 percent increase from initial projections.

The Starvros Niarchos Foundation awarded Oxfam a €250,000 ($271,000) grant to address the critical needs of people living in the Sitti Zone of the Somali region, the Afar region, and the West Arsi Zone of the Oromia Region. These regions are among the most drought stricken in the country. The grant will fund the provision of food and water, rehabbing boreholes, and trucking in water to the area.

The Starvros Niarchos Foundation may not specifically name disaster relief and response as a top funding priority—social welfare, health, and sports take the top spots here—but it could have fooled us. The foundation has been working in the disaster relief and response space for some 20 years and has contributed to humanitarian relief efforts related to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the floods in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the Greek refugee crisis, just to name a few.

Regardless of whether or not the foundation names disaster response and relief as major funding priorities, it’s clear that they are. Another thing that’s clear is that the Stavros Niarchos Foundation is proving to be a nimble funder with a knack for going where the pain is.