The Board of Directors of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has announced a call to action to help create new opportunities for Greece’s younger generations, which are severely impacted by the country’s current and alarming unemployment rate. The Foundation has committed a long-term grant of €100 million towards this effort. The unemployment rate for young people in Greece is more than 60%, according to the latest official measurement by the Hellenic Statistics Authority in August 2013.
“The situation is dire,” stated Andreas C. Dracopoulos, Co-President and Member of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Board. “As labor economists have consistently pointed out, contrary to any other age group, being unemployed at a young age continues to impact people throughout most of their adult lives. We need to recharge the youth and create prospects now before a generation or several are lost.”
The Foundation is well-aware that changing the current landscape cannot be attained through the commitment of funds alone, however significant they may be. The creation of new opportunities requires innovation and the collaboration and convergence of different sectors including public, private, and philanthropy.
To that end, the Foundation will convene a conference, which will bring together economists, policy makers, foundations, NGOs, government officials and businessmen, for the sole purpose of exploring enterprising initiatives that can lead to job creation and growth, as well as investigate programs that provide job opportunities—all promising proposals will then be implemented effectively and immediately. The conference will take place in New York City at the beginning of 2014.
This new commitment comes nearly two years after the Foundation dedicated a $130 million (€100 million) grant over a three-year period (2012-2015) to help ease the adverse effects of the deepening crisis in Greece. Since then, and as part of the initiative, the SNF has committed grants totaling $93.2 million (€72.1 million) in support of numerous not-for-profit organizations around the country.
The Foundation’s first €100,000,000 initiative was in its majority a short-term immediate relief effort, aiming to help people survive the staggering consequences of the severe socioeconomic crisis, and withstand the crumbling of the existing support system. In contrast, the new initiative is strategic and long-term in nature. The issue at hand is such that requires long-term planning, research, proactive engagement, and careful execution, and the development of new innovative solutions.
Youth unemployment is critically high in Greece, but it is a serious problem that confronts most developed economies. In announcing this new initiative, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation aims not only to help the unemployed youth in Greece, but also to develop a paradigm, a forum and a debate on effective ways to address the issue on a much broader level.