New Framework Launched on Building Healthy Communities

The Community Foundation for Ireland, in partnership with the Medtronic Foundation and its four national charity partners, has released a new step-by-step guide for community-based organisations on how to use philanthropic funding to build better health outcomes across Ireland.

The new framework, “Building Healthy Communities: Strategic Partnership from Concept to Delivery”, has been created following the successful conclusion of the third phase of the €1 million Medtronic Healthy Communities Fund which awarded grants to support vital projects undertaken by its four national partners, the Irish Cancer Society, the Irish Heart Foundation, Siel Bleu and the Marie Keating Foundation, over the last four years. 

The €1 million Fund’s projects have had a nationwide impact since 2015, helping 12,600 end-users, 146 upskilled trainers and 134 local partner organisations, as well as supporting healthier lifestyles, expanding access to healthcare for the underserved and tackling health inequalities. 

Collectively, the four national partners are working to reduce and manage non-communicable diseases in communities from pre-school age through to older people. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are diseases that are not passed on from person to person, are estimated to account for 91% of all deaths in Ireland.  The partners were funded to address health challenges in respect of such diseases, including cancers (the Irish Cancer Society and the Marie Keating Foundation), cardiovascular diseases (Irish Heart Foundation) and chronic respiratory disease (Siel Bleu).

Published at a conference at the Morrison Hotel involving nearly 90 key health stakeholders from government, industry and the community, the new framework was developed by analysing the important projects undertaken by the four national partners which collaborated with organisations at community level over the Fund’s lifetime.  Combined with the learnings and reflections from the first two phases of the Fund, it showcases the role that philanthropy can play in supporting community-based organisations to build healthier communities across the country.

Speaking at the event, Paurvi Bhatt, President of the Medtronic Foundation, said: “Working in partnership is a crucial component of local sustainability. Consistent with the Medtronic Foundation’s global vision of building healthy communities by expanding access to healthcare for underserved communities, the Fund has enabled us, with CFI, to contribute to building local partnerships to work together to reducing health inequalities in collaboration with our local partners in Ireland.  The grants allocated through the Fund have had meaningful results.  And an additional, crucial outcome from the Fund is this framework document which will enable the crucial roll-out of health promotion and health prevention strategies within local communities in the future. ”

Tina Roche, Chief Executive, The Community Foundation for Ireland, added: “While Ireland has a strong tradition of charitable giving, strategic and structured giving on the part of trusts and foundations is less developed. Therefore, the commitment by the Medtronic Foundation of €1 million to fund health-focused charities in Irish communities, was a significant and strategic opportunity to demonstrate the role that philanthropy can play in supporting healthy communities and we thank the Medtronic Foundation for its investment and commitment to the Medtronic Healthy Communities Fund.”

Kate O’Flaherty, Head of Health and Wellbeing at the Department of Health, said: “Community partnerships need to be supported and resourced in a strategic way to achieve the goals of Healthy Ireland.  The Medtronic Healthy Communities Fund supported by CFI has played a key role in this respect here in recent years, and the key partners involved have highlighted important areas for preventing chronic disease and reducing health inequalities."

Moderated by Newstalk journalist Shane Coleman, the event also featured contributions from Jackie Fielding, Regional Vice President, Medtronic UK and Ireland, and a panel discussion on growing philanthropy to support healthy communities involving Paurvi Bhatt and Tina Roche, as well as Bairbre Nic Aongusa from the Department of Community Affairs, Deirdre Mortell from the Social Inovation Fund and Eilis Murray from Philanthropy Ireland.  The event also included a practical Masterclass given by the four key partners, Irish Cancer Society, Irish Heart Foundation, Siel Bleu and Marie Keating Foundation, on the framework document and how to build healthy communities through  strategic partnership, from concept through to delivery.

Download the full report and read the reflections & learnings from the panel discussion/masterclass below: 

Download the full report

Reflections & learnings