The Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (PIOP) is a nonprofit foundation operating under private law. In accordance with its statutes, its operational costs, including those of its Museums, are covered by the Piraeus Bank Group. At the same time, PIOP pursues the co-financing of certain projects through national and European funding. The basic statutory goals of the Foundation are:
1) to record and promote Greece’s cultural heritage and identity,
2) to preserve the traditional, artisanal and industrial technology of our country,
3) to link culture with the environment and sustainable development.
These goals are achieved through:
a) the creation and management of a Network of thematic Museums of technology in the Greek provinces, where the specific nature of production in the corresponding region is highlighted, focusing on the three fold “People-Environment-Culture” as well as turning Museums to active places of interaction with the public as well as to custodians of the cultural and natural values of the landscape,
b) the implementation of a research program on cultural landscapes in Natura 2000, in particular with respect to an integrated approach for the joint management of cultural and natural heritage,
c) the study of intangible cultural heritage,
d) the design and implementation of educational programs and activities,
e) the participation in the public dialogue for the definition of the strategies to be followed in the area of the preservation of cultural and natural heritage.
As of 2010, the Cultural Foundation has focused its efforts on the link between culture and the environment. The first step was to build and operate the Environment Museum at Stymfalia; an area that reflects Greece’s rich cultural and natural heritage. The second step was to become involved in a project which is part of the EU LIFE program to promote sustainable management of the Stymfalia landscape, with special consideration to the joint protection of the natural and cultural heritage of the area. Recently, the Cultural Foundation is implementing a new program, namely the study and preservation of cultural landscapes, particularly those which are situated within Natura 2000 sites. It has also contributed to the development of a new policy that will safeguard and promote natural and cultural heritage at the same time, via initiatives such as the support of the Ministry of Culture for the catalogue of intangible heritage of UNESCO and the organization of an International Meeting “Cultural Landscapes in Natura 2000 sites” in October 2014, in Athens and Stymfalia.
The Foundation is accredited to UNESCO for the catalogue of intangible heritage, a member of Europa Nostra, of the International Council of Museums and of the European Museum Academy.