Welcome to Greece

The makeshift refugee camp in the border area of Idomeni, in northern Greece, was once the main crossing point for hundreds of thousands of people seeking international protection in Western Europe. At one time, the camp hosted up to 14,000 refugees and migrants, but it was evacuated by the Greek authorities in May 2016. Vasilis Tsartanis, a local activist, was one of the first volunteers to help those transiting through the area. For the past three years, he has worked to help refugees in Greece, and raise awareness of the dire state of the reception system and the need for a more humane and organised European migration policy.

The Open Society Foundations has supported Tsartanis’s advocacy since 2015. Open Society believes that the European Union should commit to building a single asylum and migration system that establishes safe, legal means of migration. Existing approaches have created the appearance of failure and crisis; sustainable, affordable migration systems would foster popular understanding and support for refugee resettlement.

Never Give Up

Thousands of young people with disabilities want to enter the work force to develop their potential. The ONCE Foundation and its job placement agency, Inserta, are determined that they succeed and have therefore launched the ‘Never Give Up Plan’ to help young people with disabilities find work opportunities.

The best part of the Plan is that the wider public can be a part of it and contribute to the employment of thousands of young people who exude pride and belief that they are capable of overcoming any obstacle. These feelings are amplified when we believe in them too.

Sustainable Farming in North Carolina

Since the 20th century development of industrial agricultural practices, food production has undergone a radical transformation. With machinery, pesticides and biotechnology, food supplies have increased and become more affordable but there have also been ecological and social consequences.

A community of farmers and grass-root organisations in North Carolina are planning, managing and implementing sustainable farming programmes in and around their communities. Oak is supporting the Conservation Fund who is working with these organisations to help promote awareness about sustainable living and help reduce barriers to healthy produce.

The Entrepreneurial Alliance for Child Vaccinations


“la Caixa” foundation’s work in Mozambique focuses on the campaign for vaccinations against pneumonia, one of the main causes of child mortality around the world, in collaboration with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. As part of this initiative, since 2008 the foundation has encouraged the participation of corporate clients of CaixaBank through the Entrepreneurial Alliance for Child Vaccinations (AEVI). Last year, contributions received from companies, employees, private banking and donations from organisations and individuals represented a total of €627,926, to which the foundation has contributed a further €1m. Since the founding of the Alliance for Child Vaccinations in 2008, the foundation has helped vaccinate 2,225,499 children under the age of five.

EUSTORY: Understanding Differences, Overcoming Divisions

EUSTORY is an international network of NGOs organising historical research competitions for students. The network was founded in September 2001 on the initiative of the Hamburg-based Körber Foundation and currently connects civic organisations from 25 countries. The mandate of EUSTORY is to view European history from its grass-roots and to recognise the vast diversity of its experiences. Opposing the abuse of history as an ideological weapon, EUSTORY emphasises the view of history being a lens for intercultural understanding in Europe. Since its founding, more than 190,000 students have participated in EUSTORY history competitions with about 85,000 contributions.

Social Housing

In 2004 Fondazione Cariplo created the Fondazione Housing Sociale (FHS), a foundation dedicated to the development and experimentation of innovative solutions for structuring, financing, constructing and managing social housing initiatives that are economically sustainable and not dependent on grants.

FHS works on the strong philosophy that social housing is not simply about the provision of a place to live but rather about a way of living, in which multiple services are available and a community is built.

Currently there are 27 approved local funds spread throughout Italy and there are approximately 220 projects, 14,800 dwellings and 6,500 beds in temporary or student residences. The fund has in its sights the construction total of about 20,000 apartments.

Transition to Adulthood (T2A)


The Transition to Adulthood (T2A) programme is a 10-year initiative of the Barrow Cadbury Trust, focused on improving the prospects of young adults at all stages of the criminal justice system.

Since 2008, nearly £10m has been invested in policy, research and demonstration projects focused on young adults. Through the T2A programme more than 40 reports have been produced relating to young adults and crime. These include practical resources that have been tried and tested on the ground, such as how probation officers can take account of maturity as well as age in decision-making and how police officers can meet the needs of distinct groups of young adults such as women, young Muslims and care leavers. The work is promoted by a coalition of 14 leading charities, under the banner of the T2A Alliance, all of whom provide expertise and a powerful collective voice to advocate for policy and service reform.

Social Microcredit

Fondazione di Venezia’s project, addressing the needs of financial inclusion and social integration, helped provide microcredit to non-EU women with a valid residency permit and living in the Province of Venice.  Not considered bankable by the conventional credit system, the project supported women who either wanted to start a business or access individual professional growth opportunities such as participation in professional or vocational courses.

From 2005 to 2010, 28 projects were supported equalling a total value of €225,774 in approved loans.

The loan sizes were of minimum: €2,000 for developing economic activities, €1,000 for employability projects and maximum: €20,000 for individuals (individual enterprises and self-employment) €35,000 for groups (companies).

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

It is not about gastronomy, ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?’ is about creating relationships. The project was launched during the 2011 edition of the International Festival of Folk Oral Culture with a communal dinner involving over 100 people around one table in Piazza Carlo Alberto in the heart of Turin, the dinner itself prepared by the migrant families who participate in the project.

By hosting special dinners, migrant families open up themselves and their homes to people outside their immediate social circles. Eating and conversing over dinner helps break down walls of suspicion built by ignorance and fear of different cultures. At the dinner table, they talk about children, school, work, cinema, music and discover that they are not so different after all.

‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?’ events are taking place in Turin, Carmagnola, Alessandria, Prato, Grosseto and Gavorrano, Verona, Vicenza, Roma and Barcelona in Spain.

Dynamique Territoriales

Fondation de France’s ‘Dynamique Territoriales’ programme aims to help people in need by supporting the emergence of projects in six specific areas in France with social difficulties.  Its aim is to improve the inhabitants’ daily life and to promote co-operation amongst local actors to take on mutual challenges in their areas together.

Every programme is developed by the different actors and the residents from the area and, as a team, they work together to implement the project from A to Z. Meetings with inhabitants are held to identify ideas and projects to improve local life.  The interaction, training and working together to transform their ideas into real projects in the areas where support is really required has the positive effect of creating bonds and developing new forms of solidarity.

Since the launch of ‘Dynamique Territoriales’ in 2014, 358 initiatives have been identified, 58 ideas have been assisted and 82 projects have been supported by over €1m in financial contributions.