NEWS

Motivations for involvement in welfare work

«The public welfare sector has come a long way in Greece over the past few years but there is still significant progress that can be made,» Dracopoulos said. «In the USA, there is an established infrastructure to support charity work,» he explained. «There are tax breaks for organizations, decent wages for prospective staff (employees at charity organizations earn as much as many in private businesses) and it is possible to study public welfare at university and to embark on a career in the sector – basically the system provides a motive to get involved in public welfare activities,» Dracopoulos said. He did not suggest that Greece should imitate this model, stressing instead that a shift in thinking needs to occur. «Many Greeks already have the mentality to embrace volunteer work. Making this a more widespread phenomenon is a matter of education,» he said. «The best way to improve the situation would be to introduce classes on the value and principles of charity work so children can learn the importance of giving something back to society,» added Dracopoulos. «The public welfare sector is developing in Greece. But we must be clear about our role – it is not to fill in any gaps but to complement the work being done by state institutions.» Dracopoulos also stressed the importance of partnerships with other public welfare organizations. «We have already cooperated with the Leventis and the Costopoulos foundations and are keen on pursuing other such partnerships,» he said. But there is no sense of competitiveness with these institutions. «We are part of a whole. We don’t underestimate our funds, which are ample, but we also don’t overestimate our role,» he said. For more information on the the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation, its history and its activities, visit the website: www.stavrosniarchosfoundation.org