Local social innovations responding to Covid-19 urged to apply to €5.5m Fund

Galway Daily news Dozens of Galway City community groups awarded €272,708 in grant funding

Funding of €5.5 million has been made available to support social innovation projects across the country which are acting in response to the pandemic.

Rethink Ireland’s Innovate Together fund was established to support emerging innovations that address challenges arising out of the COVID-19 crisis.

Rethink Ireland is now accepting applications from social innovation not for profit organisations and are urging organisations to get their application in without delay.

Over 480 applications were received when Round 1 funding was disbursed in May, pointing to the real need for support among organisations at the frontline of Ireland’s social response to Covid-19.

Rethink Ireland has pledged to raise additional significant philanthropic funds and is calling on companies, foundations, families and individuals to donate to the initiative.

The fund was created with support from the government and private organisations – with Z Zurich Foundation being the latest private donor, pledging €500,000.

Minister Heather Humphreys, Minister for Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands said: “It’s my pleasure to officially launch the 2nd round of the Innovate Together Fund in partnership with Rethink Ireland and the Z Zurich Foundation which will continue to help organisations across the country who contribute so much to our society.

“My department has provided €5 million via the Dormant Accounts Fund so that as many organisations as possible can get the help they need to help to continue to support those affected most by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Anthony Brennan, CEO, Zurich Ireland said that it is a hugely proud day for Zurich in Ireland.

“We have a unique and powerful opportunity thanks to the Z Zurich Foundation to deliver on our global community investment strategy and empower vulnerable Irish communities to better protect themselves from risk, and to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing world, particularly to deal with changes caused or accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Anthony Brennan.

“Through our engagement with Rethink Ireland we are confident this fund will help to create a fairer, more open and sustainable society across Ireland.

“Together, by embracing innovation, we can find new ways to meet today’s challenges head on with solutions that better serve and protect people across our communities,” he added.

Terence O’Rourke, Chair, Rethink Ireland said that there is a huge need for support amongst Ireland’s social innovation sector.

“We have been really impressed with the quality and innovation of the proposals we got from every county in Ireland when we disbursed funding in May,” he said.

“While we’ll be able to support up to 50 of these 480 organisations thanks to this fund and its donors, we urgently need more philanthropic donations.

“This fund’s goal is to not only support these projects through the immediate issues and difficulties they face, but to also ensure their needs are addressed in a sustainable and long-term manner.”

He added that the size of the Round 2 fund will depend on the donations that we can secure between now and the end of August.

“I know that many companies have been busy managing their own issues during COVID-19, but as the country begins to open up again, I am asking companies and individuals who are able to do so to consider donating to the Innovate Together Fund – your donation will be matched by Government.”