Closed Fund

Engage & Educate Fund 2021-2024

Closing Date
In partnership with:

Empowering marginalised and disadvantaged communities through Education.

The Engage & Educate Fund is a €1.2 million three year fund created by Rethink Ireland in partnership with Mason Hayes and Curran LLP and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund. The objective of the Fund is to back innovative projects that empower young people and adults through education, enabling people from marginalised communities to access game-changing education programmes.

We will be holding an Engage & Educate Fund Application Clinic on the 20th May at 11 am for potential applicants. You can register for this webinar HERE.

The Engage & Educate Fund aims to work with organisations that empower young people and adults through education and break the negative cycle of poverty through education. The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the gap in educational opportunities between different socio-economic classes and is deepening the negative impact on young people and adults who have left the education system early or are at risk of doing so.

You can apply to the Engage & Educate Fund via the online application form from Wednesday 21st April 2021 to Wednesday June 2nd at 5 pm.

How Does It Work?

The Engage & Educate Fund will provide a package of awards and supports to innovative not-for-profit organisations that are working to tackle educational disadvantage and empower young people and adults through education. There will be up to 5 awards available in total, and each Awardee will receive a cash grant (to a maximum of €50,000 per year),  mentoring support and placement on Rethink  Ireland’s three-year capacity building programme. 

Who Can Apply?

This fund is open to organisations that have a not-for-profit legal form, e.g. charity, social enterprise and other voluntary organisations.

Eligibility & Criteria

Projects must meet both Rethink Ireland’s criteria and the specific criteria for the Engage & Educate Fund, as set out below:

Rethink Ireland Criteria

  • The project must address a critical social or environmental issue
  • The project must be innovative in an Irish context
  • The project must be based in the Republic of Ireland
  • The project must have the potential and desire to scale or replicate in Ireland
  • The project must provide evidence that it is up and running, or has been tested at least in a minimal way
  • Applicants must come from an entity that has a ‘not for profit’ legal form for example, a charity or voluntary organisation

Engage and Educate Core Criteria

The project must address the issue of educational disadvantage* and seek to improve educational outcomes for people in the following age groups:

  • Secondary school age (12-18)
  • Young adults (19-24)
  • Adults (25-64)

*Educational disadvantage refers to the situation where some individuals get less benefit from the education system than their peers

The project must focus on enhancing educational attainment for young people and adults in one or more of the following groups:

  • People experiencing poverty or socio-economic disadvantage
  • Traveller and Roma people
  • Migrant people, (including people in need of international protection)
  • People from minority ethnic communities
  • People with disabilities

Advantageous criteria

  • Projects that work with young people and adults from marginalised groups who leave school early
  • Projects which have evidence of sustained impact
  • Projects that employ a holistic approach – whole community involvement
  • Involves target groups in the project design
  • Clear short term & medium goals

Which projects cannot apply?

Projects that are not eligible to apply are:

  • Research projects
  • Projects seeking funding for capital assets (such as buildings, vans or equipment)
  • Projects promoting or aligned with a political party
  • Projects that only accept participants of a particular faith or religious denomination
  • Projects focused on animal welfare
  • Projects based outside the Republic of Ireland
  • Projects led by people under 18 years of age
  • Projects that are an idea (only) and that have not yet started

Which applicants cannot apply?

Applicants that are not eligible to apply are:

  • Applicants under 18 years of age
  • Commercial companies
  • Rethink Ireland staff, directors and their immediate family members
  • Any philanthropic donors supporting this fund
  • Individuals, statutory or public bodies, local development companies, LEADER companies, companies limited by shares, and organisations that are funded 100% by state bodies or agencies and continue to be in receipt of that funding.

What Does the Fund Offer?

  • Cash grants up to €50,000 each year across three years
  • A business supports package
  • A place on our three-year capacity building programme
  • Project performance management

How Do We Apply?

Complete the online application form by June 2nd 2021 at 5pm. To complete your application form online, you will need to upload financial and governance information including a three year budget for your project.


We have tried to make the application process as accessible as possible but we understand that there may still be some difficulties for applicants. If you have access needs or are struggling with the application form, please contact

Frequently Asked Questions

What can cash grants be spent on?

You may only spend the grant on the project which won the award. Rethink Ireland will agree on the specific use of the grant with you.

Please note: you cannot use the grant to pay off debts or buy land, buildings or equipment and it cannot be used for subsistence or scholarship payments to beneficiaries.

If my organisation is currently in receipt of a grant from Rethink Ireland, can I still apply?

No. If your organisation is currently being funded by Rethink Ireland, you cannot apply to the Engage & Educate Fund. We define a current Awardee as an organisation on one of our Funds that has grant payments remaining this year between June 2nd and December 31st 2021. If you are a former Awardee, you may still apply to this Fund.

Who will decide who wins the awards?

Final decisions are made by the Board of Rethink Ireland.

What is the selection process?

The selection process includes the following steps:

Stage 1: Open call for applications (April 21st 2021 – June 2nd 2021)
Stage 2: Review the applications
Stage 3: Shortlisted applicants invited to interview – week beginning 5th July 2021
Stage 4: Interviews held – Thursday 15th July – 22nd July 2021
Stage 5: Final checks on short-listed applicants
Stage 6: Final decision by Rethink Ireland’s Board – September 2021
Stage 7: Inform successful applicants – September 2021

Can organisations make multiple applications?

Yes, organisations can make multiple applications. These applications must be for different projects.

Any further questions?

Contact the Engage & Educate Team at

Terms and Conditions of the Engage and Educate Fund

By applying for the Engage & Educate Fund, you agree to the following terms and conditions.

  • You are 18 years of age or older.
  • You have given full and truthful information, both verbal and written, at all stages of the application and selection process.
  • You are eligible to apply. This means that your organisation meets the criteria for Rethink Ireland and, as described.
  • You have the right to apply. This means that you hold the necessary rights to carry out the project.
  • By sending in your application, you accept these terms and conditions and our Privacy Statement. If you do not comply with these terms and conditions, you may be disqualified and may have to return any award granted.
  • Rethink Ireland will hold the personal details which you submitted with your application form. We will only share this information with the third parties administering the application and selection process unless we agree otherwise with you. Please see our Privacy Statement for full details.
  • The Awardees must take part in publicity about the grant. Rethink Ireland reserves the right to publish the names of organisations that are successful in their applications.
  • If you decline an award or if the award is taken back because you did not comply with the terms and conditions, the Directors may select an alternative Awardee.
  • Rethink Ireland reserves the right to disqualify any entrant, to change the terms and conditions without notice, or to cancel the application process at any stage.

Any further questions?

Contact the Engage and Educate Team at