The Philanthropy Fund – Innovate Together: DRCD

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The Philanthropy Fund – Innovate Together

The Philanthropy Fund – Innovate Together, which is complementary to the Stability Fund, is a unique transformative opportunity for the community and voluntary, charity and social enterprise sectors in Ireland to innovate and adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19.

The Fund comprises a €5m commitment from the Department of Rural and Community Development (from the Dormant Accounts Fund) which will allow grants to be administered immediately and donations to be leveraged over time from the philanthropic community. The Fund will be administered by Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) on behalf of the Department with grants of up to €200,000 available.

The focus of the Fund will be on backing innovations which are already developed or are being developed during the crisis that need to become the “new normal”, including innovations in organisations that are adapting and developing innovative business delivery models and/or income generation streams in a changing economic and societal landscape.

Purpose of the Fund

The purpose of the Fund is to support adaptation and innovation in finding solutions to emerging needs e.g.

  • enabling on-line education particularly for disadvantaged groups;
  • on-line youth mental health interventions;
  • community outreach to vulnerable groups while social distancing;
  • re-skilling the workforce for new ways of working;
  • developing the circular economy; and
  • new approaches to solutions for food security.


Eligibility for Funding

  • Funds will be available to a charity, social enterprise or voluntary organization based in Ireland delivering services/activities in Irish communities.
  • Only organisations in existence prior to 1 January 2019 and operational on 1st March 2020 will be eligible as this will provide evidence of appropriate governance and financial stability.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate suitable governance and a fund management structure.


The Fund will open for applications on the Wednesday 13th  May.  Further details can be found on the Department’s website (www.gov.ie/drcd) and at http://www.socialinnovation.ie



The Philanthropy Fund

Published: 7 May 2020
From: Department of Rural and Community Development


The Philanthropy Fund – ‘Innovate Together’ is a collaboration between Government, philanthropists and social innovations. It will focus on supporting innovative responses to the Covid-19 crisis.

The Fund is supported by a commitment of €5 million from the Department of Rural and Community Development through the support of the Dormant Accounts Fund.

Social Innovation Fund Ireland pledges to raise additional significant philanthropic funds for this initiative.

‘Innovate Together’ starts as a €5 million Fund which will focus on responses to the Covid-19 crisis. It will deliver innovative and adaptive solutions to existing and emerging social challenges. The Fund is open for applications from community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises that have either increased, adapted or created a new innovative product/service in response to problems caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

The Fund is one of a suite of measures sponsored by the DRCD to meet the challenges presented by the current pandemic.

Who can apply?

  • The funds will be available to a charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation based in the Republic of Ireland who provide services in Irish communities. The organisations support the objectives identified in the Dormant Accounts Acts (i.e. addressing social, economic or educational disadvantage or supporting persons with a disability) and for which there is a clear ongoing need.
  • Only organisations in existence prior to 1st January 2019 and operating at the start of March 2020, will be eligible.



The Fund will seek applications from projects achieving impact in:

  • Enabling online education: providing primary and post-primary school students with access to technology hardware and any other necessary supports.
  • Youth mental health interventions: delivering services in new ways or offering new types of services (intervention and prevention).
  • Circular economy: solutions for the efficient re-use and recycling of materials.
  • Improving food security: increasing independent food production for Ireland and reducing food imports.
  • New ways of working remotely: our new ways of working are here to stay and innovations are needed to smooth the transition from office to working at home.
  • Community outreach: finding new ways to reach and support vulnerable and marginalised groups.
  • Re-skilling our workforce: with the shift in our economy and the potential closure of businesses, there is a need for re-training and re-education of workers.
  • Physical Health: online medical and physical health innovations.

Government believes that innovation is one of the keys to addressing emerging social, economic and environmental needs in a sustainable manner. As we begin to build a path to recovery, now is the time to come together to build an Ireland in which we all want to live and work. A country that is inclusive, equal and focused on sustainable solutions.

Further information and how to apply

More details of the Innovate Together Fund including eligibility and the application process can be found at SocialInnovation.ie

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