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Hackathon Day 2 - Learning about Solomon

August 29, 2017

Today was another day of learning about a nonprofit that will be participating in the hackathon. Our meetings were held in the Impact Hub - a co-working space focusing on social good (and located at the base of the Acropolis).  The organization we met with was Solomon.  This nonprofit is based in Athens is and designed to empower refugees and Greek locals in an inclusive manner.  They do this in a three ways.  I have those outlined below.


1) Magazine - Solomon has an online magazine which allows aspiring journalists to create and publish content.  These journalists can be refugees or Greek citizens.  They are often learning English or Greek as their second language.  The magazine has gotten over 600,000 views worldwide.  The concept is that the magazine contributors learn basic journalism procedures while building their portfolio.  The team at Solomon coaches these future journalists through the writing, editing, and publishing process.  They also provide technology resources including computers, website hosting, and internet access.  This is all given to program participants for free.  As a result, this gives these new journalists valuable skills and tools which they can use in future journalism jobs.


2) Lab - Lab is the next step up from Magazine. This is a multi week formal immersive training program that refugees or Greek citizens can participate in.  The training focuses on print media or photo/video journalism.   This program provides a certificate to show that a individual has participated.  Once the participant graduates from the program they will have the basic skills needed to get a job working in the media business.


3) Cue - Cue is basically a creative agency within Solomon.  This agency creates content for nonprofits within Greece and eventually within the EU.  These projects are paid for by the client and therefore make Solomon a self sustaining social enterprise.  The nice thing about Cue is that a majority of the team members are graduates from the Lab program.  This means that now both refugees and local Greeks are working side by side to create content for other nonprofits - resulting in an inclusive environment.  


Things I Learned Today


I want to end this blog post with talking about a few things that I found interesting.  Lets start with the tax policy.  In Greece nonprofits are required to pay a 20% or more tax on any proceeds they make off of goods or services.  This impacts Solomon because it takes 20% of the income from their self sustaining model.  There is also a 66% tax (yes, I said sixty six) on anyone doing freelance work in Greece (i.e.: not a full time employee).  This was shocking to me, as it appears to force a black market for these types of services.  I was also interested to hear how these laws are constantly changing and it is basically impossible for any organization to keep up.  


Along with taxes, I learned that over 5,000 nonprofits have been started in Greece over the past few years.  The process for vetting and qualifying these nonprofits is not very well defined.  As a results a lot of fraudulent organizations have been founded.  Several people have taken advantage of this system by setting up nonprofits to solicit and accept funding from large international NGOs.  They then pay themselves large salaries and do not use the money to fund their programs.  I know that these fraudulent organizations exist, but it is just disappointing to hear the distrust of NPOs in the Greek community.  


Tomorrow we head to the Oynofita refugee camp located just outside of Athens.  I am sure that this will be a powerful experience.  I am very glad that has prepared us for that visit by allowing us to meet with Solomon today and Campfire yesterday.  Stay tuned!


As always if you want to support you can do so by donating below.  Thanks in advance! 


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© 2017 by DUSTIN K. PITTS.