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The Minister for Rural and Community Development and the Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development announced the launch of a €40 million package of supports for charities, community and voluntary organisations and social enterprises on 8 May 2020. These financial measures should be considered by all charities, together with the other Government payments available in response to COVID-19.

The €40 million package consists of two separate amounts:

  • A €35 million 'COVID-19 Stability Fund' which will provide support to qualifying organisations who are most in need and have seen their trading and/or fundraising income drop significantly during the crisis

  • A €5 million commitment to a 'Philanthropy Fund' which will focus on supporting responses to the COVID-19 crisis that require innovative and adaptive solutions to existing and emerging challenges

The Stability Fund (€35m)

The aim of the Stability Fund is to assist charities, community and voluntary organisation and social enterprises who are experiencing financial difficulties due to a reduction in their fundraising income and / or traded income as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is your organisation eligible to apply to the Stability Fund?

If your organisation has been delivering front-line critical services in the Republic of Ireland since before 1 January 2019, and your organisation has a projected loss in its 2020 fundraising income and / or traded income of 25% or more as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and your organisation has a legal status independent of its members in the Republic of Ireland (for example, your organisation is a company limited by guarantee, a CLG, or a designated activity company, a DAC), then your organisation is eligible to apply.

What can the grant be used towards?

If successful, the eligible organisation can apply the once-off grant towards their operational and overhead costs such as rent and utilities, but excluding salaries, for the next few months.

How much might an organisation receive?

It is envisaged that grants awarded will vary in size ranging from €2,000 to €100,000. The grant awarded will be dependent on the need identified and the demand for the available budget.

When can you apply for the Stability Fund?

The opening date for applications is Monday, 11 May 2020 and the closing date for applications has been extended to Thursday, 21 May 2020 at 8pm.

Where do you get further information?

The guidelines, further information and application forms are available at Pobal. Please read them prior to starting your application.

The Philanthropy Fund (€5m)

The Philanthropy Fund, referred to as ‘Innovate Together’, will start as a €5 million fund. It is intended to deliver innovative and adaptive solutions to existing and emerging social challenges. Innovate Together is open for applications from charities, community and voluntary organisations 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. Social Innovation Fund Ireland has pledged to raise additional significant philanthropic funds for this Innovate Together Philanthropy Fund.

The brief detail you need to be aware of

Applications for this First Round of the Innovate Together Fund are open from Wednesday, 13 May 2020 and the closing date for applications is Wednesday, 27 May 2020 at 5pm. It is anticipated that Round Two will open for applications in June 2020 and Round Three will open in September 2020.

Is your organisation eligible to apply?

The Philanthropy Fund, Innovate Together, is being managed by Social Innovation Fund Ireland and all of the detail is available on their website.

Funds can be made available to a charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation based in the Republic of Ireland that provides services in Irish communities. Eligible organisations must 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 1 January 2019 and operating at the start of March 2020 will be eligible.

It should be noted that projects seeking funding for capital assets, such as buildings, vans or equipment, are not eligible to apply.

The Social Innovation Fund website confirms that 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 in 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

What might an organisation receive?

  • Cash grants starting at €20,000

  • A business supports package

  • A place on an online Accelerator Programme, which will be conducted through webinars. This programme has been adapted to support the Awardees response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Project performance management


The introduction of the support package is a welcome announcement for affected organisations struggling to fundraise during these uncertain times. If you represent a charity, community and voluntary organisation, or a social enterprise and your organisation is in urgent need of funding, we would advise that you take immediate action as the application deadlines for both packages are fast approaching.

For more information in relation to these supports or for advice on your organisation’s eligibility or application, please contact a member of our Charities & Not-For-Profit team.

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.

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