The Foundation’s vision for a society of equal opportunities for all, which enables people to fully realise their potential, remained our primary priority during 2018. The traditional priority themes of our activities, such as education, health, the protection of the environment and the empowerment of civil society in Greece, have been pursued during 2018 as planned.
In this year’s message, I would like to focus on the most important achievements of the past year and especially on those that will influence the course of the Foundation over the coming years.
Active citizens fund
In 2018 the Foundation submitted a winning bid, in partnership with the SolidarityNow organisation, for the implementation of the EEA Grants “Active citizens fund” programme in Greece (funding period 2014-2021), which is a follow on to a similar programme contracted to Bodossaki Foundation by the EEA Grants between 2014 and 2017.
The thematic areas of the Active citizens fund programme in Greece are the following:
- increased citizen participation in civil society activities,
- increased civil society watchdog and advocacy role
- increased support for human rights,
- empowerment of vulnerable groups;
- strengthening the capacity and sustainability of civil society.
Winning this bid, which is crucial to the future empowerment of civil society in Greece, is the result of the Foundation’s experience in the management of such programmes, the exemplary implementation of the previous programme and the professional qualifications and enthusiasm of our team.
Thematic programmes with corporations, institutions and individuals
The financial crisis in Greece has seriously impacted the Foundation, which saw significant losses in income (by over 40%) and its financing capacity being reduced even further as a result of the unjust and heavy taxation on its income from properties. Nonetheless, we showed ourselves to be a dynamic and flexible organisation which can adapt to new circumstances, by making make the necessary internal changes to ensure that our operations are sustainable and effective.
The Foundation has thus created new thematic programmes and actions to support current social needs and has broadened its scope of activity, working with corporations, other foundations and private donors. Our experienced staff work with all these stakeholders to create integrated programmes which can be efficiently implemented and have a significant social impact anywhere in the country.
Among the most successful examples of such operations are the projects managed by Bodossaki Foundation in Northern Greece, in cooperation with the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), in the context of the latter’s social and environmental investments. Our team has been working on the following:
- An agri-food educational programme in the regions of Northern Greece crossed by the TAP pipeline, with a budget of about €1 million, named “Thriving Land”. In its first year of implementation, the programme exceeded its initial target of 300 beneficiaries, reaching out to more than 550 beneficiaries.
- Two postgraduate scholarship programmes (accounting for a total of 90 scholarships) in gas technology & management of energy resources, in collaboration with the University and the Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Western Macedonia, with a total budget of €1 million.
- A vocational training programme in gas technology, implemented by the Technological Educational Institute of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (TEI of Kavala), whose total budget amounts to €330,000. The implementation of the project started in September 2018 and the number of participants so far is 40 people.
After the devastating fires of last summer in Eastern Attica, with 100 people confirmed dead, the Foundation performed a systematic needs assessment analysis, based on which it designed a relief programme targeting the victims of wildfires, particularly the most vulnerable among the local populations affected. The programme is financed by The Coca-Cola Foundation and provides financial assistance as well as psycho-social support to the victims. Our aim is to continue these activities in 2019 by seeking new funding.
The Foundation has also designed a programme to boost innovative research and entrepreneurship, co-funded by the Latsis, Leventis and Onassis Foundations. Under this programme, successful candidates (Greek researchers or research teams) will be subsidised for the expenses that will cover the international safeguarding and patenting of their research projects or prototypes. This is of major significance for researchers, as patents enhance their competitiveness and increase their chances of attracting investments for further product development for full-scale production.
Our staff also designed a programme for creating and outfitting laboratories for high school classes in natural sciences. The programme was launched with support from private donors and companies and the first such laboratory in Astypalaia has already been supplied with the necessary equipment, while 17 more laboratories will soon be outfitted in the Prefectures of Rodopi, Thesprotia, Preveza and Kefallonia with the support of private donors.
Through our cooperation with Allianz and the Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies, we managed to outfit three Children’s Trauma Care Centres in Rhodes, Samos and Samothraki and to secure an ambulance for the Municipality of Mandra.
Social Dynamo, a special initiative of Bodossaki Foundation for civil society capacity building in Greece, has been in operation since February 2017 in collaboration with the City of Athens. Social Dynamo supports the organisational capacity of NGOs with continuous training, learning, mentoring and networking opportunities.
Since February 2018, Social Dynamo is hosted at the Serafio City of Athens Sports, Cultural and Innovation Complex, the city’s new hub for innovation and culture. Other civil society groups and organisations are also hosted at Serafio, creating great momentum for civil society, youth entrepreneurship and innovation.
By the end of 2018, Social Dynamo had offered training to 363 different organisations and teams accounting for 1,809 participations in total. The hub’s educational activities are considered to be of top quality, while its mentoring service is unique in Greece and is the motivation for many groups to participate in the programme.
It is worth noting that since 2017 Social Dynamo:
- was awarded an honorary distinction in the “Innovative Programme” category at the Voluntary Action 2017 annual volunteering festival, and was awarded again at the 2018 edition of the same festival, this time in the “Education” category;
- has transferred know-how on capacity building to other Fund Operators of the EEA Grants abroad (in Latvia and Malta);
- was presented as a “best practice case study” in an international survey on capacity building, carried out by NPC (New Philanthropy Capital) and Lloyds Foundation;
- has created opportunities for the provision of training to the staff of Greek NGOs by technical experts from the UL, the Netherlands and the United States.
Given that Social Dynamo is now in the process of maturing, the expansion of its services to other cities outside Athens is being examined.
Organisational changes – new premises
In 2018, the Foundation made significant organisational changes at two levels.
At the first level, the Foundation amended the provisions of its Statutes regarding the total period in office of the members of the Board of Trustees, in order to ensure the renewal and greater effectiveness of the Foundation’s supreme body.
At the second level, we have implemented a new and up-to-date operating model in which workflows are supported electronically and which we hope will make our work more consistent and efficient.
In 2018, the Foundation’s new building, which it also owns, was completed and delivered. We have now moved to our new premises at 14, Mourouzi street, which will become our permanent base from which we will work to achieve new goals and expand our partnerships.
Finally, in the context of the organisational changes completed in 2018, the Foundation elected a new member to the Board of Trustees. Mrs Athina Dessypri, who has assumed the duties of General Secretary in December 2018, will be managing all the Foundation’s operations.
In view of the challenges ahead in 2019, Bodossaki Foundation has welcomed new, talented executives and has now in place a strong, dedicated and closely-knit team, driven by enthusiasm and vision. Drawing on their strength and professionalism, we are moving forward more efficiently and with increased dynamism in pursuing our vision.