The award-winning non-profit initiative celebrated 10 years of action and social contribution and did so by highlighting the achievements of Civil Society over the last decade.
Born in the middle of the economic crisis, the non-profit organization Wise Greece was founded in 2013 to help the Greek economy and people in need living on the edge of poverty in an original and sustainable way. Now, Wise Greece supports 100 small food producers from all over Greece, with more than 2,500 products, and helps them promote their products in Greece and abroad, ensuring their family businesses remain sustainable. On the other hand, using its profit from sales, Wise Greece buys food of high nutritional value for charitable institutions nationwide, providing hundreds of tons of food over the years.
Wise Greece did not stop there. With the cooperation and support of more than 53 companies and 22 institutions, it has organized various programs over the years to maximize its social impact, such as skills training seminars for vulnerable citizens, women empowerment activities in the rural areas, programs for entrepreneurship, inclusion, and the awareness of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, etc. It’s even estimated that more than 500,000 of people have benefited from its action!
A journey with many awards
Throughout the decade, Wise Greece has been honored with major awards, such as the “Models of Excellence” by the Presidency of the Hellenic Republic for its overall work and the “World of Difference” Award by the International Alliance of Women in Washington DC for its provincial women’s empowerment programs. In 2020, it was one of seven non-profit organizations worldwide to be honored by the United Nations and the World Bank for its work in promoting the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Event “10 Years of Wise Greece”
On 26 September, the big event was held at the Benaki Museum, where the work of Wise Greece was highlighted, and a review of the past decade was conducted. A pivotal decade for our country saw Wise Greece, along with dozens of other initiatives from foundations, companies, and institutions, address problems such as the lack of basic food for families, youth unemployment, refugee crisis, social inequalities, and lack of equal opportunities for women among many others.
This decade has seen Civil Society take the lead in our country, and this new, wonderful, dynamic, and promising face was highlighted by the speakers of the evening, from different perspectives.
Mrs. Alexandra Mitsotaki, President and Co-Founder of the World Human Forum, focused on the importance of inner human change in her speech, while Mrs. Melina Daskalaki, President of the Reception and Solidarity Centre of the Municipality of Athens, addressed the daily battles faced. Mrs. Maria Tsene, the Program Management Officer of the Bodossakis Foundation, discussed the program that the foundation implemented in collaboration with Wise Greece, supported by the Active Citizens Fund, wherein more than 1,360 vulnerable citizens from 200 cities and villages in Greece were trained on how to become entrepreneurs in the food sector. Mrs. Maria Ziouvelou, Marketing, Communications & CSR Leader of Deloitte, referred to the establishment of the Deloitte Foundation and the Hope Boxes program executed with Wise Greece, where 6.7 tons of food were distributed to those in need. The panel of foundations was completed by Ms. Elizabeth Hatzigiaki, General Secretary and Programs & Communications Manager of the Hatzigiakis Foundation, where she highlighted the strategic collaboration of the Foundation with Wise Greece on initiatives for Education and the Environment.
Our guests then learned about the initiatives of selected companies and their contributions to Civil Society and discussed the programs they have implemented in cooperation with Wise Greece. Specifically, Ms. Despina Koulina, Loyalty & B2C Payment Manager of Coral, presented the “0.01€ makes a difference” program successfully executed at Shell Stations, resulting in a donation of 12 tons of food to 7 institutions. Mr. Evangelos Maximos Skopelitis, Head of Brand, Marketing, and Communications of EY Greece, discussed the “SDGs Coffee Breaks” program conducted to inform and engage employees about the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Mr. Konstantinos Efremidis, Head of Communications of Enel Green Power, spoke of the “Vamvakies Social Green Project”, which assisted unemployed women of Kozani to produce the first batch of food via a photovoltaic park. Ms. Corina Leventi, Marketing and Sustainability Manager of Coral Gas, talked about the “Together We Move Forward” program that trained residents around the region of Ioannina on digital entrepreneurship.
The event culminated with a panel of social entrepreneurs. Mr. Alexandros Theodoridis from Boroume, Ms. Stella Kasdagli from Women on Top, Mr. Christos Alefantis from Shedia, and Ms. Melina Taprantzi from Wise Greece provided a live review of the past decade, given that all these organizations were founded around the same time.
Finally, Mr. George Pappas, the General Manager of Wise Greece, elaborated on the significant plans for the upcoming decade. Meanwhile, Mrs. Melina Taprantzi, President of Wise Greece, made a heartfelt appeal in her speech for everyone to take action, encouraging people to do something, no matter how small, about daily concerns, ensuring it would be the beginning of a brighter tomorrow.
The event was supported by the Region of Attica and CORAL (SHELL LICENSEE), CORAL GAS, DELOITTE, ENEL GREEN POWER, EY, and the Hatzigaki Foundation. The presentation was led by the journalist Ms. Maria Nikoltsiou.