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The Praksis centre is backed by the Stavros Niarchos foundation (named after the late Greek shipping tycoon) as part of a three-year, €100m programme that funds Greek NGOs attempting to alleviate high levels of poverty and social exclusion – now believed to affect about one-third of the population…
Niarchos, a global donor which also supports the arts, has set new benchmarks for NGO operations in Greece, carrying out rigorous due diligence before awarding grants and requiring strict accounting practices. Even in the provinces, families’ resources are close to being exhausted John Zervakis, the foundation’s chief operating officer in Athens, says: ‘With a few exceptions, Greek NGOs are not in a position to absorb large amounts of funding. There’s a need for capacity building and for education in philanthropy.’
Praksis, one of Greece’s largest NGOs with 150 paid staff, including a full-time fundraiser, and an annual budget of more than €10m, has been a big beneficiary of the Niarchos programme.