July 12, 2022 Adonis Giorgiadis, Minister of Development and Investments, Nektarios Farmakis, Governor of the Western Greek Region and Mayor George Gioropoulos honored the Team and the donors who donated funds to purchase 135,000 replacement olive trees. Yanos Gramatidis, (Bahas, Gramatidis). Zozo Lidoriki (International Relations for Culture), and Steve and Dianne de Laet (The Arete Fund) and the generous donors successfully exceeded the initial goal of 80,000 trees.
The event, held at the Municipality at Ancient Olympia, offered the participants to speak about the project and the hope that it will inspire continued support, education, and sustainability. After the conclusion of the speeches, a marble plaque honoring the project and the corporate donors was unveiled.
February 22, 2022 A Press Conference was held by the Honorary President of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce Mr. Giannos Grammatidis, The Arete Fund, and the President of International Cultural Relations, Ms. Zozo Lidoriki at the Zappion Megaron in Athens. Over 50 Greek publications representing multiple industries published articles about the success of the Olympia Trees project. Enough funds have been raised to purchase and replant 150,000 olive saplings.
The interview was attended by the Deputy Minister of Rural Development & Food, Mr. George Stylios, the founder of the Initiative, Mr. Giannos Grammatidis, the Regional Governor of Western Greece, Mr. Nektarios Farmakis, the Mayor of Ancient Olympia, Mr. George Georgios, Ms. Zozo Lidoriki and the representatives of the two Major Sponsors of the Initiative, the Director of Corporate Relations and Communication of the PPC Group, Ms. Sofia Dimtsa and the General Manager of Marketing & Corporate Communication of the Eurobank Group, Mr. Michalis V.
The great fires of August 2021 destroyed thousands of acres of agricultural crops. About 450,000 olive trees were burned in the wider area of Ancient Olympia. This is not only an economic disaster for agricultural enterprises, but also an ecological disaster in a historical area where the kotinos, the wreath from the olive branch, symbolizes the Olympic victory, the noble sports rivalry, but also the wider concept of peaceful coexistence between people and nations.
After consultation with the Governor of Western Greece, Nektarios Farmakis, and Giannos Grammatidis, the Honorary President of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce immediately mobilized economic and social actors in the US to activate their philhellenic feelings in order to contribute to the rehabilitation of, caused by the fires.
As part of this mobilization, initiated and coordinated by Mr. Grammatidis, the U.S. based non-profit organization, The Arete Fund, founded by Steve and Dianne de Laet, undertook to organize an online fundraising campaign by American donors to purchase 85,000 - 100,000 new olive tree saplings to replant in the affected areas of Ancient Olympia. The campaign comes to assist the government measures that are being taken or will be taken; it will greatly alleviate a significant number of farmers who saw their production and property destroyed in only a few hours.
This effort is also supported by the Region of Western Greece in collaboration with the Municipalities. To coordinate the actions, successive meetings were held at the headquarters of the Region in Patras, as well as in the Tower of Ilia and the City Hall of Ancient Olympia, in the presence of the Regional Governor of Western Greece, Mr. Nektarios Farmakis, the Mayor of Ancient Olympia, Mr. George Honorary President of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce Mr. Giannos Grammatidis, Steve and Dianne de Laet, who came to Greece for this purpose. Agronomists from the Region of Western Greece and other factors also participated.
At the same time, The Arete Fund created an online platform for disseminating information and soliciting donations in the USA, designing special pages on social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, etc.), creating photographic material and short videos depicting the size of the disaster and posted on both the platform and social media.
Head of project team in the USA, Ms. Deborah Wince Smith, Chair of the U.S. Competitiveness Council, was immediately named President, and its members include writers, film and video producers, visual artists, publishers, and fundraising campaign experts. Founder and Coordinator of the project in Greece is Mr. Giannos Grammatidis while its financial management is the International Cultural Relations.
The seedlings collected from various nurseries in Greece will be delivered to the affected communities by the end of March 2022, which in turn will be distributed to the affected olive farmers in their respective areas so that it can be planted between April and May 2022.
With the full support of donors, the movement "We replant the olive groves of Ancient Olympia" by Giannos Grammatidis and the Arete Fund, not only raised the enough funds to meet the initial goal of 85,000-100,000 new olive saplings but have now raised enough to plant 150,000 saplings.
The Deputy Minister of Rural Development & Food, among others, stated, "Our interest in the ecological catastrophe that took place in Ancient Olympia is a given. But let us not forget the disasters suffered by agricultural enterprises. We want not only to restore the natural landscape of the area, but also to revive the rural economy. Olympia is intertwined with it name “Ancient Olympia” and the Olympic Games. The olive tree is the symbol that promotes volunteerism and brotherhood. This creates a unifying spirit in this difficult time for Ancient Olympia. "The hundreds of thousands of olive trees that were destroyed in the birthplace of the Olympic Games, are today becoming an occasion for a new volunteerism through the initiative of Giannos Grammatidis and the Arete Fund."
The Head of the Initiative Mr. Giannos Grammatidis noted that "this project supported by the Greek Government, will be the first project to be implemented in record time in the first half of 2022 in Greece to repair the damage from the summer fires 2021. »
The Mayor of Ancient Olympia stressed, “The huge fire that destroyed 130,000 acres of arable and forest land in the Municipality of Ancient Olympia, left deep wounds in our place. More than 2,000 people in our area will have zero or minimal income in the coming years, in a place where more than 400,000 olive roots have been lost and much of the local economy has been destroyed. The initiative of Giannos Grammatidis and The Arete Fund to buy tens of thousands of olive saplings and replace the lost plant capital in the Municipality of Ancient Olympia is a transfusion of life into the black and gray that dominates the area of the Municipality of Ancient Olympia. It is an offer that will bring deep relief to our affected liaisons, but also optimism for the rebirth and rejuvenation of our place. We express our deep gratitude to the Arete Fund and Steve & Dianne de Laet, to Mr. Giannos Grammatidis who is the "soul" of the project, as he mobilized economic and social actors to achieve the goal, as well as to the sponsors of the initiative but also the ordinary citizens who responded to this campaign. Their love and solidarity in this difficult time, move us very much”
Mr. Farmakis stated among other things: The fires of last August left behind open wounds in the local society and economy and scary images to all those who lived them up close. However, the initiative of the reorganization of the natural capital that was lost in the flames and that today is beginning to take on flesh and blood, creates in everyone the feeling that those "candles" that were silently burning in Ancient Olympia in the days after the great catastrophe, quickly became a beacon of hope and solidarity that has spread from one end of the planet to the other. This is the power of our the global community and it fills us with faith, hope and responsibility! I personally thank the founder and organizer of this great effort, Giannos Grammatidis, who immediately, quickly and effectively responded to my personal request for mobilization of the private sector in order to replant the burned olive groves of Ancient Olympia.
Ms. Zozo Lidoriki made the following report: The International Cultural Relations, which this year completes 30 years of continuous action in Greece and abroad, knows very well the Power of Culture. They know very well what kind of culture we want! What kind of life do we want! What do we mean by common good, personal responsibility, respect for environmental management? In the main areas of activity in Letters, Arts and Science, from the very beginning we have included programs on: Environment, Education, Tourism. Mr. Giannos Grammatidis, now Honorary President of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, knowing very well the values and goals pursued by International Cultural Relations, a few years ago, as President "dared" to include in the Chamber a cultural strategy. Believe in our proposal, that the cultural product is the great competitive product of Greece, which makes it white-faced abroad and that is why it must go hand in hand with healthy entrepreneurship. His current proposal for two cultural - non-profit - organizations to work together: The Arete Fund and the International Cultural Relations with volunteerism and with the significant support of the private initiative made his inspiration a reality! And from the ecological catastrophe we reached, in record time and with the help of technology, the project "We replant the Olive groves of Ancient Olympia". In today's world with the shocking changes the POWER OF ANCIENT OLYMPIA is the Power of Civilization. The Director of Corporate Relations and Communication of the PPC Group, Mrs. Sofia Dimtsa, underlined: "For PPC, the participation in the national effort for the reconstruction of the fire-affected areas is an obvious responsibility. In its long course, PPC has undertaken important environmental initiatives and actions with important projects of soil restoration, regeneration and tree planting. As a Rehabilitation Contractor in Evia, she participated in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the areas affected by the catastrophic fires of the summer. And it continues to show a high sense of responsibility in response to the request of local agencies for the restoration of the areas of Ancient Olympia, with a donation of 450,000 euros for the planting of 80,000 new olive saplings, their transport and delivery to home communities. The olive tree is the symbol of Greece and throughout the centuries a world symbol of peace, wisdom and prosperity. But it is also an important part of the productive wealth of the country, vital for thousands of our fellow citizens. "We are replanting the olive groves of Ancient Olympia" and we hope that as the new trees grow in this historic area, the hope for the inhabitants will grow and the prosperity in the area will dry up. " The General Manager of Marketing & Corporate Communication of the Eurobank Group, Mr. Michalis Vlastarakis, pointed out, "The ties that the Eurobank Group maintains with Ancient Olympia and the wider region are further strengthened with the new important initiatives that we launch, in consultation and cooperation with local societies and competent bodies. Having been by the side of the locals from the first moment in the catastrophic fires of 2007, today we continue a long tradition of support. With an increased sense of responsibility, we consider it our obligation to contribute directly and substantially to the long-term actions, both of the State and of the collective efforts of institutions, for the restoration of the country's forest wealth and the strengthening of fire protection. After the hard test of the catastrophic fires of last summer, our Group has announced that it will allocate, in total, resources of 1 million euros for a package of actions in fire-affected areas. Our participation in the important initiative announced today is part of this wider planning of actions that we activate, including the offering of saplings. "It is our belief that respect for history requires the support of society and the people who continue to care for the world-famous ancient land of Olympia." The initiative was also supported from the first moment by the non-profit company Bahas, Grammatidis & Partners, the auditing company RSM Hellas and the civil non-profit company International Cultural Relations with its President Ms. Zozo Lidoriki.
The Arete Fund has had activity in Ancient Nemea, Argos and Mycenae. In collaboration with the Mycenaean Foundation, it helps and promotes the Mycenaean Path, and organizes educational exchanges for the study of Elegy.
For my birthday this year, through Academy of Hellenic Paideia, I’m asking for donations for “The Olympia Trees Project”, which is a global campaign to help regenerate the land of Ancient Olympia and support local farmers by replanting 200,000 olive trees. Would you be able to support this fundraiser? With a 100 trees or more ($500) we could have an olive grove in honor of the Academy of Hellenic Paideia. Each tree costs just $5. In the spirit of the Olympic Ideals of unity and friendship please join us and plant an olive tree in Ancient Olympia. With the Olympics coming up, what a great way to teach our students about the ancient Greek Olympic ideals and the rich history and universal human values that the site was built upon. The campaign, since October, has already raised $915000. Enough to treat the soil, purchase and replant 150,000 trees, just shy of meeting the overall goal. The Olympic Tree project is an initiative based on strong international collaborations and partnerships. Leading the US efforts is the Arete Fund, a California based nonprofit, founded by Dianne Tittle de Laet, daughter of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle. Regional efforts are being led by the former President of the American Hellenic Chamber of commerce, Yanos Gramatidis, and Nektarios Farmakis, the Regional Governor of Western Greece. Dianne is a classical scholar and a big philhellene. They give a lot of money towards educational initiatives as well. Would love to introduce you. The campaigns goal is to be as transparent as possible. Everyone is working pro bono. 100% of everyone’s donations is going towards purchasing and replanting. Auditing and distribution accounting services are being provided by independent global accounting firm RSM pro bono. Please see a recent article written describing the efforts https://greekreporter.com/2022/01/16/replant-ancient-olympia-olive-trees/. Below you’ll find additional information. REPLANTING ANCIENT OLYMPIA Restoring the Birthplace of the Olympic Games One Tree at a Time Join Us! Last summer, climate-fueled wildfires burned through more than 250,000 acres in Greece - destroying forests, farms and entire villages. The World Heritage Site of Ancient Olympia, where the first Olympic Games where held, lost 450,000 olive trees in these devastating fires. Thousands of farmers lost their means of livelihood. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO COUNTER THE DEVASTATION. Olympia is a recognized global symbol of human excellence. Preserving Olympia will ensure that the rich history and universal human values that the site was built upon is handed over to future generations. Plant an Olive Tree in Ancient Olympia! This multinational effort invites all— organizations and individuals — to plant an olive tree in Ancient Olympia. Olive trees can live for thousands of years. And leave a living legacy that will last for generations to come. The olive tree is a global symbol of peace and unity. It is a symbol of the Olympic ideal. The olive tree is also an economic necessity. For untold generations, families in Greece and across the Mediterranean have relied on the olive tree for their livelihood. Every donor will receive a letter of appreciation from Governor Farmakis as well as the location of your trees and a photo of the land that benefited from the contribution. For those who wish to contribute we thank you with the reminder that a single olive tree can live to be 2,500 years old. Besides supporting this birthday fundraiser, here’s how you could also help: Share on social media. Share this cause and website with colleagues and friends. With more people aware of our cause, we’ll be one step closer to reaching the goal. https://olympia-trees.com/ DONATE NOW Plant 10 trees for $50.0 Plant 50 trees for $250.00 Plant 100 trees for $500.00 Plant 200 trees for $1000.00 Plant 1000 trees for $5000.00 About the Olympia Tree Project: The Olympic Tree project is an initiative based on strong international collaborations and partnerships. Leading the US efforts is the Arete Fund, a California based nonprofit, founded by Dianne Tittle de Laet, daughter of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle. Regional expertise and guidance are provided by Yanos Gramatidis, of leading law firm Bahas, Gramatidis & Partners and Nektarios Farmakis, the Regional Governor of Western Greece. The project is also being supported by the office of the General Secretary of the Greek Prime Minister and the Greek Ministry of Finance. Corporate donors include Johnson & Johnson, AVIS, Ernst & Young and Deloitte among others. Your Donation: The Olympic Tree project aims to make the donation process as transparent as possible. All services offered by Bahas, Gramatidis & Partners and the Arete Fund are pro bono. They will purchase the olive trees directly from the suppliers and provide them to the Ministry of Western Greece to distribute and plant. Auditing and distribution accounting services will be provided by independent global accounting firm RSM pro bono. I hope you'll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me. Every little bit will help me reach my goal. I've included information about Academy of Hellenic Paideia Inc below: It is our mission to encourage learning inspired by the classic Hellenic tradition. By guiding each childs mind by what amuses them, we may better discover and nourish their unique genius in an effort to promote their fullest human potential; mind, body and spirit.
On January 16, Greek Reporter, a leading news site serving Greeks outside of Greece, published an article about the Olympia Trees Project. Please click on this link to read the article: https://greekreporter.com/2022/01/16/replant-ancient-olympia-olive-trees/.
The author, Stacy Dimikakos, writes "Last summer Greece experienced one of the worst ecological disasters in its history. Catastrophic fires, fanned by record high temperatures, burned through more than 250,000 acres across the country – destroying forests, farms, and entire villages.... To counter the devastation, a new global initiative has been launched, The Olympia Trees Project, to restore the birthplace of the Olympic Games and offer a message of hope to those who lost everything in the fires, one tree at a time…Thanks to the enormous support from both individual and corporate donors, the campaign has already raised $360,000 since October. This is enough to treat the soil and to purchase and replant 45,000 trees, almost half of the overall goal."
Eurobank Greece will purchase 25,000 olive trees to be donated to the Olympia Trees project. This donation is a significant contribution and brings our goal of donating 80,000 trees much closer. Our gratitude goes out to the employees of Eurobank for recognizing the importance of restoring the livelihoods of the farmers in Ilia.
EY Company Greece, one of the world's premier accounting and professional services firms is donating funds to purchase 1750 olive trees, one for each of its employees in Greece. Mr. Panos Papazoglou, Managing Partner of EY in Greece, stated: “1,750 olive trees. 1,750 EY people in Greece. These numbers are not coincidental – each tree planted, represents the commitment of each and every one of our people to bringing our vision of building a more sustainable world to life. As Ancient Olympia brings to mind the glorious past of Greece, we hope this initiative will stand as a symbolic reminder to future generations of how we all contributed to a greener future for our country”.This generous donation will have a significant impact on the effort to replant the area around Ancient Olympia. Many thanks to EY Greece!
The Olympia Trees project has gratefully received a donation from Athens International Airport, adding to our growing list of corporate donors. This donation is a significant contribution to replanting Ancient Olympia. Many thanks!
Katerina Sokou published an opinion piece titled "Olives in the Name of the Future" in the Greek newspaper, Kathimerini on 3 November about the collaboration between The Arete Fund, a private organization and the Greek Western Region.
"Following this summer's fires, a new private partnership initiative with local government may have better luck. With the goal of reforesting the estimated 450,000 olive trees lost in the fire, the olympia-trees.com initiative already has the significant contribution of two Americans, Steven and Diane de Laet, who have set out to raise money for 100,000 olive trees through their charity Arete (Areti) in the US raise awareness of other Americans to donate, with the idea that the whole world is a family."
Dianne and Steve de Laet, co-directors of the The Arete Fund had the opportunity to present at the Olympia Forum along with George Giorgiopoulos, Mayor of Olympia, Nektarios Farmakis, Governor of Western Greece. The panel was moderated by Yanos Gramatidis, partner at Bahas Gramatidis. Yanos' law firm is providing all legal services pro bono. View the program on this youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip7hHzt-iGQ&t=52s
The San Francisco Peninsula published an article on November 10, 2021 about the Olympia Trees project. Kate Bradshaw accurately describes the devastation, the effects, and the effort to restore the trees and lives of the farmers.
Plant trees in the name of your family, friends, your favorite sports team.. Your donation is tax deductible.
Every tree purchased is a step bringing the groves back to life and a livelihood to the farmers. 100% of your tax deductible donation will go to purchasing trees directly fro the suppliers. Every donor will receive a letter of appreciation from Governor Farmakis.
$50 plants a Family Circle of 10 Trees
$100 plants a Family Grove of 20 trees
$500 plants a Family Orchard of 100 trees
$1000 plants a Village Orchard of 200 trees