GTF 2012 Award for Excellence in Philanthropy
Marianna V. Vardinoyannis has been an unceasing advocate and campaigner for the rights of children and the family. She is a Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, founder and president of the “Foundation for the Child and the Family” and of the “ELPIDA Friends’ Association of Children with cancer”. Inspired by motherhood, as a mother of five children herself, she has built up an extensive record of humanitarian work towards disadvantaged social groups in Greece and abroad, as well as on education, peace and cultural heritage. She struggles against human trafficking, climate change and other issues of today’s concern. She serves as board member at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the MENTOR Foundation, the “Light of Africa Foundation”, etc. She holds BA in History of Art and in Economics, MPhil in Archaeology as well as three Honorary Doctorates in Laws, Philosophy and Human Studies. Thanks to her and to the work of ELPIDA, more than 600 children for Greece and the Mediterranean region suffering from cancer were given a new chance of life. She created the first Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Greece in 1993 and the first Pediatric Oncology Hospital in 2010. More than 750 families of sick children have been hosted for months at the ELPIDA Guest House (est 1999). She adopted the Greek village “Makistos”, reconstructing all the houses after their destruction by fire in 2007. She supported UNESCO programs for Middle East, Africa and other parts of the world. She funded the creation of the “Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies” at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in 2008. She is now working for the creation of the first “Bone Marrow Donor Bank” in Greece.