Greece is a country with a modern, independent existence ranging just two centuries back. Still it is a society with deep roots in history and with an equally strong sense of collective belonging – also with an important, quite successful Diaspora. So, when the newly formed Greek State had to build social infrastructure, from education to health to transport etc., it relied heavily on donations coming from successful Greeks, mainly of the Diaspora. These donations supplemented its meagre fiscal resources.
This saga of benefaction that evolved subsequantly is the object of “Benefaction in Modern Greece: Theory and History”, a book by Matoula Tomara-Sideris, Professor of Historical Demography and Cultural Attitudes, published by Kerkyra Publications-economia Publishing.
If up to the middle of the 20th century the main source of benefaction activity was the private financial means of wealthy individuals, the continuation of such activity thereafter was the matter of Foundations established by the same kind of individuals (or families). The case of Greek benefactors was no exception to this more recent form of international behavior – but the aims did not change much: