Closed Fund

Freedom From Fear Fund

In partnership with:

The Freedom From Fear Fund is a €100,000, 6-month fund created by Rethink Ireland in partnership with the National Women’s Council, with support from Deloitte Ireland, Kinzen, the Drouillard Family Fund (via The Community Foundation of Ireland), SmartSimple, a private donor, and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund.

It will support up to three current Rethink Ireland awardees (see definition of current awardee below) on projects working to end gender-based violence in Ireland. These projects will be working on goals that address the deep-rooted cultural causes of gender-based violence, while also supporting victims/survivors of violence and their families through innovative service provision. The Freedom From Fear Fund will seek to address the issue of gender-based violence from both a preventative and protective lens.

Recognising that we cannot separate the root causes of violence from its impact, this Fund will work to protect survivors from violence and prevent gender-based violence from occurring.

This fund will work to support projects that: 

  • address the deep-rooted cultural causes of gender-based violence in Ireland; and/or,
  • support survivors and their families/supporters*, by increasing the capacity of service providers to respond effectively to the needs of women and girls affected by violence.

*By using the word ‘supporters’ we acknowledge that in many cases, the survivor’s friends/neighbours may support the survivor rather than the family alone. The term is used by Rape Crisis Network Ireland.


Who can apply?

Eligibility & Criteria

Projects must meet both Rethink Ireland’s criteria and the specific criteria for the Freedom From Fear Fund, as set out below:

Rethink Ireland Criteria 

  • The project must address a critical social issue 
  • The project proposed must be innovative in an Irish context
  • The project must have potential and a desire to scale or replicate in Ireland (it may also have potential internationally, but this is not a requirement)
  • The project must provide evidence that it is up and running, or has been tested at least in a minimal way
  • The project must be based in Ireland and make its main impact in the Republic of Ireland
  • Applicants must come from an entity that has a not-for-profit legal form, e.g. a company limited by guarantee, a co-operative, a charity, and other not for profit legal forms

Freedom From Fear Fund-Specific Criteria 

In addition to Rethink Ireland’s core criteria above, applicants must also meet the following Fund-specific criteria:

  • The project must be a current awardee* with Rethink Ireland; and
  • The applying awardee must be looking to complete a specific goal(s) aligned with your current project** that is related to at least one of the following objectives:
    • Use education and training to promote gender equality across all groups
    • Provide awareness raising campaigns to tackle gender stereotypes and norms that condone violence; 
    • Provide empowerment programmes which strengthen self-esteem and resilience; 
    • Work to change the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours that make gender-based violence acceptable in society through education and training programmes (including working with all gender categories); 
    • Provide holistic support services to survivors and their families/supporters which may include one or more of the following:  
      • Psychosocial counselling
      • Legal assistance
      • Health care
      • Other identified needs of the survivor; 
    • Address the needs of children and young people affected by witnessing/being exposed to gender-based violence***

*We define a current awardee as an organisation and/or project on one of our Funds that has grant payments remaining at the time of application.

**Eligible projects will be those that are supported by an existing Fund and currently carrying out work related to the fund goals of the Freedom From Fear Fund.

***The children of women survivors in shelters have experienced trauma through witnessing violence against their mothers, or have experienced violence themselves.

Which projects cannot apply?

Projects that are not eligible to apply are:

  • Projects from organisations that are not currently a Rethink Ireland awardee
  • Projects where research is the primary activity
  • 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? 

  • A person who is younger than 18.
  • A person from an entity that has a for-profit legal form (examples of these entities include Companies Limited by Shares or Sole Traders)
  • Any staff member from Rethink Ireland staff (and donor), Directors and their family members. Family members include siblings, parents, spouses or civil partners or children.
  • Any consultant currently working with Rethink Ireland.
  • 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.

If my organisation/project has previously been in receipt of an award from Rethink Ireland, can I still apply?

You must be an active awardee on one of our Funds in order to be eligible to apply to the Freedom from Fear Fund. We define a current awardee as an organisation and/or project on one of our Funds that has grant payments remaining at the time of application. If you have previously been in receipt of an award from Rethink Ireland but you are not an active awardee at the moment, unfortunately you are not eligible for this Fund.   

If my organisation/project is currently in receipt of an award from Rethink Ireland, can I still apply?

Yes, this fund is specifically for current Rethink Ireland awardees. Organisations on one of our Funds that have cash grant payments remaining at the time of application are eligible to apply.  Please contact your designated fund manager or if you wish to clarify your eligibility.

Is this just for large-scale, national organisations?

No, it is not, and indeed we welcome applications from organisations of all sizes once it is a not-for-profit organisation with a legal form (see criteria above).

Can I apply for this funding even though I am still on the ideation stage? 

Unfortunately no, this Fund needs to see proof that the project is up and running or at least has been tested and shown results in some way.

Can organisations make multiple applications? 

Yes, there is nothing stopping your organisation from making more than one application for separate projects. However, due to the competitive nature of this Fund and its selection process, it is very unlikely that we will fund more than one project from any organisation. We encourage organisations to submit one strong application rather than multiple applications.

If my organisation is funded by a Government/state agency (HSE, TULSA etc.) are we eligible? 

Yes, you can apply if you are in receipt of funding from a government or state agency. However, if your organisation is 100% funded through state sources then you are not eligible to apply to the Fund.

Is it possible for organisations to collaborate in an application (e.g. a community development organisation and an educational provider)?

Only if the current awardee project is an existing collaboration. Please refer to the eligibility criteria to ensure that your project is eligible for funding.

What does the Fund offer?

  • Cash grants up to €25,000* for 6 months.
  • Project performance management

* The Rethink Ireland Board will decide how much money to award, which may be less than the amount requested. The final amount of the award will depend on how many organisations are selected.

What can cash grants be spent on? 

The cash grant must be spent on the project that won the award and must be ring-fenced for the work you are undertaking. The specific use of the cash grant will be agreed between Rethink Ireland and the awardee.

The funding may be used to cover operations/staff costs but you must be able to demonstrate in your application how this is facilitating you to run the project that you are applying for. Cash grants may not be used to pay off debts or for capital items such as renovations, or for vehicles, land, buildings or equipment. 

What non-financial supports will be provided to successful applicants?

As active awardees, projects will still benefit from access to Rethink Ireland’s networks and have the opportunity to develop networks and contacts with the other awardees of the Fund which are often very valuable in the longer term.

What is expected of awardees?

Project leads will be expected to continue to spend a minimum of two days per week working on the awarded project and working towards agreed goals.

How do we apply?

Applications to the Freedom From Fear Fund are now closed.


What happens after we submit our application?

  1. Applications will go through a rigorous selection process (for more information see below).
  2. We aim to inform successful applicants in December 2023. 
  3. The cash grants will be delivered in one instalment at the beginning of the fund. 
  4. The Fund will close in June 2024.

How does the selection process work?

The selection process is very rigorous and consists of a number of stages:

  • Stage 1 – Open call for applications – mid September to mid October 2023
  • Stage 2 – Eligibility review – mid October 2023
  • Stage 3 – Internal and external reviews of all eligible applications – mid October 2023
  • Stage 4 – Final decision by Rethink Ireland Board – Provisional timeline –  December 2023

Who will decide who wins the awards?

All applications will be reviewed thoroughly through a rigorous process. The Board of Rethink Ireland will make the final decision on successful applicants and the number and value of the final awards given.

How do applicants find out where they are in the selection process?

We will contact all applicants by email to let them know whether or not they have been shortlisted. When final decisions have been made on the successful applicants, we will contact all shortlisted applicants by phone or email to let them know whether they have been successful. 


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

Terms and Conditions

By applying for the Freedom From Fear 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.