Tereshchenko family is well known not only on the territory of Ukraine but also in the whole Europe due to its philanthropy into the cultural sphere.
The first founder of the dynasty is commonly believed to be Artemii Tereshchenko. He started his commercial activity from small trade having worked as an estate manager in the shop of chapman. Gratefully to his innate abilities soon he opened his own business.
Primarily he was trading with carriages but later he opened a small shop. The business of this Cossack ancestor started in 1855 and in 1870 he had already three sugar factories and three sons.
Further Artemii decided to present one factory for each son providing 80% of profit would be donated to family fund that in its turn would deal with philanthropy. Since then with the financial help of Tereschhenko funds there were built many hospitals, hospices, gymnasiums, conservatories, music halls and even cathedrals in Ukraine.
In Glukhiv town there were built an industrial school, women and men gymnasiums, pedagogical institute, a bank, hospital of St Euphrosiniya, a hospice for orphans and a Tri-Anastasia church.
Later in managing his business he was assisted by his sons - Nicola, Fedir and Simon. Young Nicola Tereschenko started to deal with bread factories, which he had been managing rather skillfully. He was able to benefit from the reform of 1861 - the Abolition of serfdom by understanding in what way it was correctly to manage farm to make it profitable. And, consequently by 1870 he had 10 sugar factories located in Glukhiv area.
Thus, the capital accumulating was not a kind of self-goal for him. Money was spent for modernizing of production as well as creating conditions for effective work of sugar factories. Nicola was very busy with managing the factory and trade but also with the public work that was traditional for Tereshchenko family.
Furthermore, he was elected as senior master of Glukhiv town and later during 14 years he was the principal governor of territorial gathering, member of territorial authorities of Glukhiv and honorable magistrate.
Apart of public activity Nicola paid much attention to philanthropy cases - children's asylums assistance, hospitals and even prisoners by heading the local department.
After having settled his native town, Tereshchenko family went to Kyiv. Gratefully to them till now Kyiv city has the most exclusive art collection in four museums: the National Art museum by Schevchenko, the Russian art museum, the Western art museum and the Eastern art museum.
Besides three of them are placed in the former family's premises and the fourth is built for money having been received from sugar factories income. Thanks to this family children's hospital "OKHMATDIT" were built in the city, as well as premises of the Theatre institute by Karpenko-Kariy and the corpus of medical library placed at Tolstogo street.
Summarizing his long life story Nicola Tereshchenko contributed about 5 million rubles to the public needs and almost a half of them to Kyiv city.
It is interesting to know that Nicola also was the city head of Moscow and Glukhiv cities. The motto for the family emblem was rather eloquent: "Striving for public benefit". It actually defined the further activity of the whole dynasty.
Tereshchenko family was famous far beyond the Russian Empire. Sugar producers, collectors, politicians, financiers - all of them were considered to be the richest people in Europe. The history of this dynasty is fascinating and instructive.
Patrimony devotion at different posts, philanthropy and charity were on behalf of all off-springs of Nicola Tereshchenko, every of whom was really talented.
A grandson of Nicola – Michael, was the next outstanding representative of the family. His education was the prerogative of his father. Michael was very talented child possessing a gift not just accepting knowledge but also a desire to get it.
Relatives called him "wunderkind" that totally corresponded to the reality. In his early childhood Michael spoke fluently French, English and German. He understood Ancient Greek and Latin. Learning languages was his life style and later he knew 13 languages.
As well as his father and grandfather Michael was dealing with charity activity, a Conservatory was opened in 1913. Its construction was coordinated by Tereshchenko and 50 thousands rubles were invested in this project. When Michael was 16 years he became a heritor of a big Tereshchenko family fortune.
His grandfather Nicola and father Ivan died in the same year that was crucial to have an enormous inner courage to manage million cash funds. Michael remembered the testament of his ancestors about the desire for beneficial public actions. Therefore, during World War I he was financing the Red Cross.
Because of the same reason he became the youngest deputy of IV Imperial Duma. In March 1917 he was suggested a position of treasury minister and later he became a minister of internal affairs at Korenskiy cabinet. Being a treasury minister during Temporary government of Russia in March and May 1917 he organized a Loan of freedom -international credit that had to help Russia.
Still, later he was arrested while Reid in Zimny palace and jailed to Petropavlovskaya fortress.
His wife Margaret gave to Trotskiy the "Tereshchenko" diamond, the second in size blue diamond to promote the prison break. Michael had to start from the very beginning. He had to pay the debt to Tsarist Russia because the armament of Russian army was treasured by international credits and most of them were taken on security of personal property of Tereshchenko family. Very soon during a couple of years international creditors adjudged him as an ex-minister of Russia a yacht, a villa in Cannes and everything outside Motherland.
During the World War II Michael Tereshchenko organized a caution crossing of scientists, artists, participants of protest from Monaco to London in order to help them to escape the German occupation.
When he died on April 1, 1956, the "TIMES" stated that it "was the biggest loss for financial circles of many European capitals".
In 1994 firstly after the Revolution of 1917, Ukraine was visited by off-springs of Tereshchenko family- a son Peter and a grandson Michel who lived in France. In 2003 Michel Tereshchenko came by himself with an aim to be present at the requiem for his ancestors in Glukhiv town.
Michel has got an MBA in ESSEC, Supreme School of economics and business in Paris, France. Also he has written 2 books about his ancestors "The first oligarch" and "In the search of Tereshchenko Family treasures". In Ukraine he organized a "Fund of Tereshchenko heritage" in order to protect churches, hospitals, children's asylums, museums, universities and schools that were built by his ancestors and were not destroyed during the World War II. Additionally he visited the places that were under the support of his ancestors including OKHMADIT hospital where even now one can see the photos of his family who opened and supervised it.
Belonging to Tereshchenko blood means not just being a rich man; it also signifies a big will and desire to work. Members of this family are united with a "family codex of honor" that they stuck to both in entrepreneurship and charity and an enormous passion to art.
Photos provided by Tereshchenko family.