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July 23, 2015

Greek Charities Take Hit as Bank Controls Curb Giving

Children's charities in Greece have seen donations plunge since the government imposed drastic limits on bank withdrawals, Reuters reports.

The restrictions come as a new round of austerity measures mandated by the country's European Union bailout deal seem set to increase the need for social services and further strain nonprofits and volunteer groups.

After Athens introduced capital controls late last month to avert a run on banks, limiting withdrawals to $65.50 a day, "we saw a complete drop in donations to almost nothing," said Costas Giannopoulos, president of the Smile of the Child. The charity, which aids families in need and relies almost entirely on donors, has a monthly budget of $1.4 million but less than $440,000 in the bank.

The Greek arms of Make-a-Wish and Medecins Sans Frontieres also reported steep donation drops since the curbs on cash withdrawals and bank transfers took effect. Some groups are turning to the sizable Greek diaspora populations in in America, Britain, and elsewhere for support.