Our commitment to transparency
When we launched Project Hope for Greece in 2013, we needed to find a way to support the important work of Greek non-profit organizations with 100% transparency to our donors in North America. We heard, far too many times, that people giving to foreign charities often felt uneasy due to uncertainty about where their funds were being spent.
As a result, we developed a funding process that fulfilled the wishes of our donors while simultaneously sending the funds where they were needed most — to the charities in Greece doing critical humanitarian relief work.
Each charitable gift we make is handled differently depending on the function of the organization and its needs at the time; therefore, rather than merely “throwing good money into a pot” and hoping for the best, we make targeted gifts and always follow up with our charities.
We require annual financial statements and reports from any charity that wishes to receive our support. We also report back to our donors on a regular basis via regular website announcements.
Some examples of our processes follow below.
When a devastating earthquake struck the island of Lesvos, we wanted to make sure that funds reached those most in need — the people who lost their primary residences in the quake and were left homeless. Our fundraising efforts raised almost $80,000. We were able to collaborate with the local government, which had a list of approximately 80 families who had lost their homes in the earthquake.
We worked with local grocery shops, butchers and fruit markets and were able to provide (depending upon the size of the family) certificates worth cash that could be used for food. The amount ranged from 80 to 120 euros per family, per month. This campaign lasted for two entire years and we received regular reporting from the local government, as well as a progress report on several families that were able to become self-sustaining and were eventually taken off our list, giving us left over funds.
In addition to the food program, we were able to be Santa Claus to dozens of children during the first Christmas season these kids would experience living in temporary housing. Furthermore, with leftover funds, we purchased school supplies for the elementary school.
Recognized the world over as “Mama Maria,” a humble restaurant owner named Maria Makroyianni opened the doors to her business to thousands of refugees that were passing through her island of Samos at the height of the crisis in 2015-16.
Numerous people wanted to support Maria’s efforts and help her purchase food and other supplies in order to keep her pantry full so that she could continue cooking for thousands of hungry refugees pouring onto the island.
We wanted to ensure that the trust factor between donors and recipient could never be broken, and in line with our policy that prohibited gifts to individuals, we created a workaround that involved a collaboration with the local Vasilopoulos grocery store and the issuing of food gift certificates that Maria could use to buy cooking supplies.
This project was supported by numerous individuals, as well as with a generous grant from the Ladies Philoptochos Society of SS. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, IL, who provided funds for a year’s worth of food that ultimately fed more than 8,000 people.
After our July 2019 Greek America Corps volunteer program at a children’s shelter operated by METAdrasi on the island of Chios, volunteers who spent day after day at the shelter identified various needs including shelves, a refrigerator, books and other equipment. Upon completing the volunteer program, our staff facilitated the actual purchase of the aforementioned items and arranged for their delivery directly to the shelter
After tragedy struck during a winter storm, the fishing boats of Thanos Marmarinos and Kostas Pinteris were completely destroyed. Thanos and Kostas were two of the famed Lesvos fishermen who were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for their selfless humanitarian relief work at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015 and 2016. During that time, the two men put their livelihood on pause to save countless destitute people floating in rafts in the Aegean Sea.
Once the crisis subsided, Thanos and Kostas had just begun returning to normal — fishing and providing sustenance for their families and community — until a freak January storm turned their boats into floating rubble.
An anonymous donor from California read about the tragedy and wanted to help. We immediately undertook the project to determine the needs of the complete repair and refurbishment of the two fishing boats. We managed the entire process and worked alongside various repair companies that each handled different parts of the boats.
We made payments directly to the companies and at no time were funds given to the fishermen themselves. In the end, a final payment was made for delivery of the boats from the repair shipyard outside Piraeus to the fishing village of Skala Sikamnias, bringing hope and happiness to two fishermen, their families and an entire community.