Evangelos Marinakis Gives Back so Much to Piraeus his Hometown
Evangelos Marinakis was born in Piraeus, Greece on the 30th July 1967. Piraeus at the time was mostly considered a working-class city. Over the years Evangelos Marinakis has developed himself into a man who is respected and valued. He’s considered one of key figures in shipping industry worldwide, plus he has contributed to so many philanthropic and charitable causes. Marinakis has also helped to develop the city of Piraeus, making it into a thriving and attractive port popular with tourists; it’s the biggest commercial and passenger port in Greece. What is truly notable about Marinakis, is that he cares deeply about people; and wherever he’s able to make a real difference to people’s lives, he will.
Evangelos Marinakis took over control of his father Miltadis Marinakis’ shipping business, and transformed it, increasing the size of the fleet from 7 ships to over 74. The business did well, and Marinakis became wealthy and he also purchased the Media business ‘Alter Ego’. Marinakis has always used his wealth to benefit others; and the positive effects of this can be seen in his hometown of Piraeus; he has given back philanthropically to the place where he was raised.
In 2010, Evangelos Marinakis became the owner and President of the Olympiacos Football Club. Olympiaos is situated in Piraeus. Under his management the team has won the Greek Super League every season. Marinakis has described Olympiacos FC as being crucial to the very fabric of Piraeus.
In 2014 Yiannis Moralis vice-president of Olympiacos, became Mayor of Piraeus; this perhaps shows the importance of Olympiacos FC to Piraeus. Evangelos Marinakis himself became a member of Piraeus City Council in 2014; he was voted in with more than 14,000 votes which was a record in the local council elections, more than 50%, showing how popular he is with people. When Evangelos Marinakis became elected, in his election campaign he had promised to make improvements of urban renewal and regeneration to Piraeus, and he saw all these through successfully in his time as a Council member. Marinakis served on Piraeus Council until 2017.
Marinakis and Moralis intended to improve upon the Piraeus port, really transforming the place so that it was a port more appealing to tourists, which would boost the economy of Piraeus. They planned to improve and renew the standard of living and upgrade infrastructure. Marinakis had Themistocleous Square configured in the Maniatika neighborhood plus the Angioi Nargyroi Square and playground in Palaia Kokkinia. Marinakis paid for the Atromitos Football field to be reconstructed, with new dressing rooms created. He has made Piraeus a much more green and environmentally friendly place, as well as making it more aesthetically appealing by funding the introduction of 300 palm and olive trees which have been planted around Votsalakia Beach, Terpsitheas Square, Themistocles Square, Akti Miaouli, Mikrolimano and Ethnarchou Makariou Street.
Piraeus is a significantly improved place, due to Evangelos Marinakis. He is responsible for creating public squares, children’s playgrounds, and developing sports facilities; incredibly he did this at his own cost; because Piraeus did not have the funds to, due to the Greek economic crisis. When Themistocles square was renovated and presented afresh in 2015 back to the people, it was filled with people and children’s happy voices, as it included a modern safe playground of 1,000 sq.m. The 2,500 sq m square had been newly paved, with benches set out, and beautiful plants, to make it a safe and attractive place for children to play, and their parents to enjoy.
Marinakis in his three and a half years on the Council ensured that the facades of city buildings which had become aged and dilapidated were remodeled; he installed outdoor seating along the beach front. He paid for sidewalks at the cities entrance to be paved; and he also made lots of repairs to gyms which had closed, giving Piraeus much better leisure and sports facilities than it had before. When Marinakis resigned from the Piraeus City Council the members of the council expressed what an important contribution he had made: “he has tirelessly offered to citizens who were and are in need. He is always there whenever the City Council or other institution seek his help.”
In 2015 and 2016 when Piraeus was hit hard by a massive influx of refugees, it was Evangelos Marinakis who once again stepped in to help out. He paid for food, clothing, and toys to be distributed to the refugees. By helping the refugees, it was not only the kind and morally right thing to do, to help people who were suffering. But, it also helped to keep the people of Piraeus healthy and safe too.
Marinakis also contributes daily food rations to the Holy Metropolises of Piraeus and Nikaia. He has donated money which has allowed the High School Building of the Holy Metropolis of Piraeus to be restored. By donating money to the church this has covered the daily costs of the church’s soup kitchen and summer camps and offered a great deal of help to people who were in dire need of support.
In May of 2017 a monument to the genocide of the 353,000 Greeks of Pontus was unveiled in Alexandra Square in Piraeus. Both the monument itself and the refurbishment of Alexandra Square was due to a donation from Evangelos Marinakis. The monument had been commissioned by the artist Panagiotis Tanimanides, and was called “Pyrrhic Flight.” The monument looks like a huge wave, but inside that, there are 17 other sculptures depicting the flights of a “refugee bird.” The square itself is 7 acres, and very historic. It’s in a beautiful location of Piraeus which has sea views and is close to the ancient city walls. Marinakis has ties to Pontus through his mother, he is a descendent of the Ypsilantis family.
When Evangelos Marinakis was presented with an award in 2017 as Greek Shipping Personality of the Year, he spoke of his “beloved Municipality of Piraeus” and how the “achievements in shipping give us the power to try our very best to contribute to our society.” He has certainly contributed significantly to Piraeus.