All-Island Community Fund Opens for Applications

Posted on 1 Apr 2021

The Community Foundation for Ireland and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland are delighted to embark on a new partnership and to combine over 60 years of grantmaking experience to launch the All-Island Community Fund. This new pilot Fund will provide flexible philanthropic support for civil society engagement on a north-south basis, leading to better understanding, strong relationships and progression towards a fairer, more equitable society on the island of Ireland.  

It also represents an exciting opportunity for both Community Foundations to better support civil society engagement North and South, to model partnership and support long term collaboration and change.

Why is this fund needed?

The implications of Brexit and the associated loss of EU membership for people and communities continue to unfold. Early difficulties have arisen in the movement of people and trade. At the same time, the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the connectivity and interdependence of people on the island and the need to collaborate around social factors including health and community infrastructure. The nature of the conversation about future all island relationships is changing dramatically.  

In this context there is a need for increased dialogue and collaboration among civil society organisations. The context presents both risks and opportunities which will be influenced further by the way in which Brexit unfolds. All island, civil society, dialogue will play an increasingly important role in building a more stable future for everyone.   

In 2021, grants of between €5,000 and €20,000 to will be made available to interest groups in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland who wish to partner with, or to further partnerships with their counterparts on the other side of the border.

This initial (pilot) phase of the Fund should be used to support increased dialogue and collaboration between these partners with the ultimate aim of working effectively together on common issues and challenges on an all-island basis.

Who can apply

The Community Foundations  are particularly interested in hearing from groups who already enjoy a cross-border partnership through existing work but also welcomes proposals from groups who are working with other vulnerable communities of interest and would like to explore the possibility of new dialogues and partnerships.

Applicant organisations must:

  • Be registered charities or community and voluntary groups that are constituted and possess charitable aims
  • Engage their chosen partners prior to submission to agree terms of reference for the collaborative proposal
  • Agree to receive the funding on behalf of all partners listed in the proposal and to share the funding between partners as set out in the proposed budget.

What can be achieved:

Successful grant-making that will support and facilitate the following:

  • Future leaders nurtured and given opportunity to develop skills
  • Identify policy positions and support collaboration in specific projects in thematic areas, such as gender, race, immigration and children
  • Raise awareness and create better understanding of the post-Brexit context for civil society in Ireland, on key issues (in media, with statutory bodies and in non-profit sector)
  • Ensure space is created for healthy, respectful, and productive dialogue on challenges and opportunities created by the ongoing debate about future constitutional arrangements on the island of Ireland
  • Build on the best practice from each jurisdiction to further influence policy and legislative development
  • Build partnerships between civil society, philanthropy and Government.

This initial pilot funding is to support and foster all-Island partnerships that will look to achieve some or all of the following:

  1. Create opportunities for those working on similar issues within the community and voluntary sectors to work together
  2. Build capacity by working together and sharing resources
  3. Convene stakeholders around a common problem or issue 
  4. Share ideas and insights on the type of society we want to create irrespective of constitutional arrangements.
  5. Create better understanding of the different cultural identities represented on the island
  6. Avail of needed training and technical assistance
  7. Undertake research and needs assessments to identify gaps in services; and collaboratively create new responses
  8. Initiatives that support leadership opportunities
  9. Forge partnerships that leverage additional public or private resources. 
  10. Develop shared policy positions
  11. Speak out together and use the media to raise visibility and action on issues.

Lead organisations can apply to one of the Strands below:

Strand 1: Grants of up to €5,000 will be made available to organisations who have identified a need to work with a relevant eligible partner on a shared issue. This funding should be used to support the establishment of this new partnership and proposals should make reference to activities A to D listed above.

Strand 2: Grants of up to €10,000 will be made available to organisations who have an existing partnership with a relevant organization on the other side of the border. The funding should be used to amplify that relationship and to increase the level of dialogue and collaboration between partners. Proposals should make reference to activities A to G listed above. 

Strand 3: Grants of up to €20,000 will be made available to organisations who meet the criteria of Strand 2 but who wish to elevate their partnership to include activities H to K listed above.

Advisory Committee

An advisory committee has been established by The Community Foundation for Ireland and The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, convening stakeholders from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to assist in the design of the Fund and its criteria and to assist in the assessment of funding applications.

How to Apply

The Fund will open at 1pm on Thursday 1 April 2021 and will close initially at 5pm on 14 May. Applications will be assessed by the Fund’s Advisory Committee in early June and decisions will be made on this first phase of applications before the end of June.

The Fund will operate on a spend-down basis and in the event that there is surplus monies available following phase one of the Fund, it will reopen for applications at the beginning of July 2021. 

Applications must meet the criteria above and must include a detailed realistic budget and timeline for the project.

Only one application per organisation will be accepted.

Only one application per partnership will be accepted

Applications can be made using the following link:  All Island Communities Fund Application Form


What won’t be supported under this fund:

  • Proposals that do not focus on partnering meaningfully with a an organisation on the other side of the border
  • Submissions from sports organisations
  • Submissions from organisations that are not charitable and/or are not a constituted body with charitable aims.    
  • Ongoing core costs not directly linked to the proposed work.

If you have any queries in relation to this Fund or the application process, please contact the Grants and Donor Care Team at The Community Foundation for Ireland at…