Closed Fund

Ignite Midwest Fund 2021

In partnership with:

Sparking meaningful impact in Ireland’s midwest by supporting innovative organisations serving the counties of Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary.

Minister of State for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD and Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland. Pic: Marc O'Sullivan.

In Ireland, inequalities exist between different regions of the country and also within regions. While people in some parts of the country are feeling the challenge of the rural-urban divide, poverty and deprivation also persists in many urban areas. Over the past year, inequalities have only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. We believe that Ireland should be an inclusive and equal place, no matter where you live, and that social innovation is vital to making this happen.

This is why we created the Ignite Midwest Fund, Rethink Ireland’s second regional fund. ‘Ignite’ means to ‘spark’ or ‘set in motion’ and this €650,000 Fund aims to spark meaningful social impact in the counties of Clare, Limerick and Tipperary. The Fund has been created in partnership with several private donors from the region including the Parkes family Limerick, the Community Foundation for Ireland, and is matched by the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund.

How Does it Work?

The Ignite Midwest Fund will provide a package of awards and supports to innovative not-for-profit organisations that are working to empower communities, tackle inequality, poverty, or social exclusion; and/or promote recovery and prevention in the counties of Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary.

This one-year Fund is open to community groups, charities, or social enterprises that support children, young people, or adults who are experiencing poverty, socio-economic disadvantage, or geographic isolation. There will be 7 awards available in total, and 2 of these will specifically be for projects that are using music as a means of promoting social inclusion and/or wellbeing in the region.

What does the Fund offer?

The Fund offers a package of cash grants and non-financial supports to the value of between €55,000 and €75,000* for up to seven projects, to help them expand and increase their social impact. 

This includes:

  • Up to two awards of up to €55,000 for projects that are using music as a means of promoting social inclusion. This includes a cash grant of up to €44,000.
  • Up to five awards of up to €75,000 for other successful projects. This includes a cash grant of up to €60,000. 
  • The  non-financial supports will include:
    • a place on Rethink Ireland’s Accelerator Programme
    • bespoke business and capacity building supports designed in consultation with the successful projects on topics such as strategic planning, maximising your impact, communications, storytelling and fundraising.
  • Access to Rethink Ireland’s networks.

* 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.

Who can apply?

We invite applications from organisations or projects within organisations, that:

  • support people who are marginalised or are experiencing poverty, disadvantage, or geographic isolation
  • have a sustained impact in the counties of Clare, Limerick or Tipperary. Projects should either have their main base in one of these counties, or be part of an organisation with a branch or particular focus and impact in one or more of these counties. 

We particularly welcome projects that are focusing on one or more of the following:

  • tackling poverty, inequality, and/or social exclusion
  • empowering communities to speak and act for themselves
  • promoting recovery or prevention
  • using music as a means to promote social inclusion and/or wellbeing. 

To be eligible, applicants must satisfy the following compulsory criteria:

Rethink Ireland Compulsory Criteria

  • The project must address a critical social issue, in this case poverty, inequality, social exclusion, or geographic isolation.
  • The project must be innovative in an Irish context*.
  • The project must be based on the island of Ireland and make its main impact in the Republic of Ireland. Also, for this Fund, the project must make, or plan to make, its impact in one or more of the following counties: Co. Tipperary, Co. Limerick, or Co. Clare**.
  • 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 be tested at least in a minimal way**.
  • Applicants must come from an entity that has a not-for-profit legal form, eg:
    • company limited by guarantee
    • charity
    • co-operative
    • social enterprise 
    • volunteer organisation
    • other not-for-profit legal forms

*In the context of The Ignite Midwest Fund, innovation does not have to mean new. The innovations can be existing projects which tackle inequality, poverty, or social exclusion in creative, different, and dynamic ways. 

**Projects that are not currently making an impact in one of these counties, but which plan to make an impact in one or more of them if successful, must be up and running/tested/piloted elsewhere in Ireland to be eligible.

Ignite Midwest Fund Compulsory Criteria

  • Projects must make an impact in one or more of these counties: Co. Tipperary, Co. Limerick or Co. Clare. Projects can be based in these counties, or operate within a national organisation that makes (or plans to make) a specific impact in one or more of these counties if successful*.
  • Projects/organisations must ring-fence the funding and supports for their work in one or more of the three counties only. 
  • Projects must be working with communities and groups experiencing socio-economic disadvantage or geographic isolation.
  • Projects must focus on one or more of the following: tackling inequality, poverty and/or social exclusion; on promoting recovery or prevention, or on empowering their communities.
  • A project wishing to apply for one of the two awards for using music as a means of promoting social inclusion and/or wellbeing must be able to show a substantial impact on participants**. 

*Projects that are not currently making an impact in one of these counties, but which plan to make an impact in one or more of them if successful, must be up and running/tested/piloted elsewhere in Ireland to be eligible.

**Music related projects can focus on intervention or prevention. This may include therapeutic use, intellectual or personal development, or community development approaches. Projects that offer only one-off interventions or that focus solely on improving musical ability or performance will not qualify. 

Advantageous Criteria

  • Projects that have a direct and sustained impact on the midwest region.
  • Projects which work to enhance leadership and self-empowerment among marginalised communities. 
  • Projects that promote and employ community development approaches.
  • Projects which have a demonstrable commitment to equality and human rights for all.

How do we apply?

This fund has now closed for applications.