Legacy Funds can be transformed into programmes to support the revival and sustainable development of particular places that have special significance for the legators. One example is the revival of a small Greek village through the support of the Tony Julius Fund.
Antonis Giouzelis, later became known as Tony Julius, left his native village of Kyparissi, Laconia (Peloponnese) in the early 20th century in search of a better future in the United States, but never forgot his roots. So great was his love for his birthplace that he bequeathed most of his fortune to the Tony Julius Fund, which was established to improve the lives of the village’s residents in perpetuity. Today, thanks to the Tony Julius Fund, which is managed by the King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS), with the support of the Bodossaki Foundation, his memory remains very much alive among the residents of his native village. There are several projects and initiatives, implemented with full transparency, which serve to sustain and constantly improve the quality of their lives.
Kyparissi is a small, secluded village on the slopes of Mount Parnon, overlooking the Myrtoan Sea. It is a location of stunning natural beauty. The village’s 400 inhabitants are chiefly engaged in agriculture, fishing, olive oil production, beekeeping and tourism. Until the 1970s, Kyparissi was accessible only by sea or on foot, via a steep mountain trail.
Thanks to the Tony Julius Fund, several projects have been carried out in Kyparissi. The most important was the opening of climbing routes in the area, establishing the village as a climbing destination and attracting climbers from all over the world. This has helped to extend the tourist season from April to November and boosted the village’s economy. To watch a video dedicated to the village’s climbing routes, click here.
The Tony Julius Fund has also supported the projects listed below, in close consultation with the local community, ensuring that the village’s immediate and future needs are documented and taken account of:
- The infrastructure of the village primary school, which was built in the late 19th century according to the designs of the German architect Ernst Ziller, has been upgraded. In particular, the school’s roof, boiler room and toilets were repaired, and electronic equipment (PC, photocopier and interactive whiteboard) were provided.
- A new playground was installed in the village centre, together with new benches.
- The roof of the Church of the Holy Trinity has undergone maintenance and been repainted.
- The footpaths to St George Bay and the Acropolis of Kyphanta have been opened to visitors and maintained.
- Financial assistance has been granted to local residents in need, in accordance with the provisions of Tony Julius’s will.
In carrying out all of the projects, use is made of services provided by small local businesses, thus creating local employment opportunities. The Βodossaki Foundation’s management team visits Kyparissi at regular intervals in order to assess the progress of the projects, their acceptance by the local community, and the current needs of the latter.