Closed Fund

Impact Fund for Munster 2023

Announcing an open call for applications to Rethink Ireland's €760,000 Impact Fund for Munster with the aim to support non-profit organisations who work primarily to improve the lives of people and communities are Clare Allen, Fund Manager, Rethink Ireland; Mick Guinee, CEO, Ei Electronics and Maureen Parkes. Picture: Alison Miles / OSM PHOTO

What is the Impact Fund for Munster?

The Impact Fund for Munster 2023 was created with a clear mission; to support sustainable development of Munster communities through funding social and/or environmental innovations which shape a more sustainable future for all.

This mission will be future-focused and community-led, strengthening the capacities of Munster communities to develop sustainably far beyond 2023 by focusing on:

  • Climate Action and Environmental Awareness: increasing sustainability, climate change education, increasing efforts in recycling, the circular economy, green production and waste awareness and/or
  • Community Inclusion and Cohesion: generating a positive sense of belonging, particularly for marginalised and vulnerable groups

The Fund is set up in partnership with a number of donors in the Munster region including Ei Electronics, Sunflower Charitable Foundation, Tomar Trust, the Parkes Family Limerick and the Department of Rural and Community Development through the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The Fund offers a package of cash grants and non-financial supports to the value of €762,375 for up to 8 projects, to help them expand and increase their social impact. The Fund will run over 6 months between February – September 2024.

This includes:

  • Up to 8 awards of up to €68,000*
  • 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.

Examples of suitable projects could focus on one of the following areas:

  • Promote social inclusion for marginalised groups
  • Empower disadvantaged groups to tackle social and environmental issues experienced by their community
  • Increase community engagement and awareness of climate action
  • Engage participants to protect and improve biodiversity
  • Implement innovative solutions for sustainable food systems and/or reduce pollution and consumption
  • Upskill communities to adapt to the Green Transition ensuring that no one is left behind

This is not an exhaustive list – please refer to the Fund criteria to see if your project/organisation is eligible to apply. 

You can contact the fund team at impactmunster@rethinkireland.ie if you would like more information.

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 that meet the following criteria:

Eligibility & Criteria

Projects must meet both Rethink Ireland’s criteria and the specific criteria for the Impact Fund for Munster, 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

Impact Fund for Munster Core Criteria 

  • Achieve their social impact primarily in Munster- projects must directly work with, and for Munster communities
  • Focusing on Climate Action and Environmental Awareness i.e supporting coastal and marine biodiversity projects, supporting circular economy projects, supporting conservation projects etc AND/OR
  • Focusing on Community Inclusion and Cohesion i.e. Supporting communities to increase community participation and improve social inclusion etc

Advantageous criteria 

In addition to meeting the core Fund criteria, it would be an advantage if the project also has the following attributes:

  • Community-led i.e. includes representation from the participant community in positions of leadership, integrates community input and feedback
  • Future focused i.e supports the sustainability of the environment and communities in Munster, protects these resources for future generations

Marginalised identities can include people who; are from Roma or traveller communities, are migrants or seeking asylum, have a disability, are socio-economically disadvantaged or unemployed, are rurally isolated, are experiencing poor mental health or addiction, or identify as LGBTQ+. Please note, this list is not exhaustive as many individuals experience marginalisation. 

This may look like programmes which:

  • Promote social inclusion for marginalised groups
  • Empower disadvantaged groups to tackle social and environmental issues experienced by their community
  • Increase community engagement and awareness of climate action
  • Engage participants to protect and improve biodiversity
  • Implement innovative solutions for sustainable food systems and/or reduce pollution and consumption
  • Upskill communities to adapt to the Green Transition ensuring that no one is left behind

This is not an exhaustive list – please refer to the Fund criteria to see if your project/organisation is eligible to apply. 

Which projects cannot apply?

Projects that are not eligible to apply are:

  • 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? 

Applicants that are not eligible to apply are:

  • Applicants under 18 years of age
  • Commercial companies, sole traders and individuals
  • 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 has previously been in receipt of an award from Rethink Ireland, can I still apply?

Yes. If you have previously been funded by Rethink Ireland, you can still apply. Previous awardees must be able to demonstrate they have performed well on a previous programme and capture in the application form how the new funding being applied for is a logical continuation from the original investment, fitting the new Fund criteria in particular.

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

Projects on one of our Funds that have cash grant payments remaining before the commencement of the new fund programme are not eligible to apply. Organisations on one of our Funds that have cash grant payments remaining before the commencement of the new fund programme are still eligible to apply with a different project and different project lead.

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 the same 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)?

They can and one organisation should take the lead. Please refer to the eligibility criteria to ensure that your project is eligible for funding.

WHAT DOES THE FUND OFFER?

  • Cash grants up to €68,000 in 2024

  • A business supports package

  • A place on our capacity building Accelerator Programme

  • Project performance management

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 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 large equipment. 

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

Rethink Ireland’s non-financial supports have been called our ‘secret sauce’ that help projects to really develop their capacity and sustainability, in addition to the benefit of the cash supports. Non-financial supports will include:

  1. Each Awardee’s project lead and potentially other relevant staff will take part in the Fund’s Accelerator Programme The Accelerator programme will consist of a series of interactive training workshops on topics such as strategy development, measuring and maximising your impact, communications and storytelling, diversity and inclusion and fundraising.
  2. Awardees will also get some bespoke 1:1 business and capacity building supports from expert business/non-profit consultants in areas such as impact management, theory of change and strategy development. Supports will be designed in consultation with the successful projects.
  3. Awardees will also get 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?

The project lead will be expected to take part in the six-month Accelerator Programme, which includes attending approximately 6 workshops and spending time working 1:1 with a business/strategy consultant. Project leads will be expected to spend a minimum of two days per week working on the awarded project and working towards agreed goals.

HOW DO WE APPLY?

What is involved in completing the application form?

The application form asks you for information about:

  • your project and organisation
  • the problem your project tackles
  • what makes your project different from others
  • who it benefits
  • how your project meets the fund conditions
  • how you test or evaluate how well your project is doing 
  • referees
  • other details
  • It also asks you to send us financial documents (listed below) and a short video about your project (this is optional). 

 

What kind of video do we need to submit? Optional

Don’t worry – you don’t need to produce a high quality or expensive video. You can use a smartphone or tablet. We just want to hear you telling the story of your project in 2 – 3 mins max. Please tell us:  

  • who you are
  • why you are applying for the award
  • the problem/issue your project is trying to solve
  • how you will do that 
  • how your solution is innovative or creative. 

You can then upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo and password protect it if you wish. You can insert the URL link and the password in the application form.

What financial information do we need to submit with our application?

  1. The documents you need to complete depend on whether you are applying in relation to a project within an organisation or you are applying as an organisation as a whole:
    • If applying for a project within a larger organisation, the project’s management accounts and the organisation’s most recent audited/full accounts are needed.
    • If applying for an organisation as a whole, the most recent audited/full accounts are needed.
  2. All applicants must outline how they intend to use the funds from Rethink Ireland if successful and upload a proposed budget. A spreadsheet template is provided in the relevant section of the application form.

How do we upload our project budget (planned income and expenditure)?

In the relevant section of the application form you will be provided with a link to a budget template in excel. Please click on the link provided and DOWNLOAD this document to your computer. Then fill in your financial information and save the document with your project’s name and then upload it in the relevant section of the application form. 

What happens after we submit our application?

  1. Applications will go through a rigorous selection process (for more information see below).
  2. Interviews will take place online in the week commencing late November 
  3. Successful applicants will be informed in January 
  4. The cash grants will be delivered in two parts – one at the beginning and one at the end of the Accelerator and are tied to agreed performance milestones. 
  5. The Accelerator Programme will run for approx six months between February and September 2024.
  6. The Accelerator supports will be designed in consultation with the awardees and reflect organisational/project needs. 
  7. The Fund will close in September 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 (Deadline – October 27th)
  • Stage 2 – Internal and external reviews of all applications  (November)
  • Stage 3 – Interviews for shortlisted applicants (Late November)
  • Stage 4 – Due Diligence/Governance checks on short-listed applicants.
  • Stage 5 – Final decision by Rethink Ireland board (January 2024)

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 and invited to interview.  Interviews will be conducted via online video link. 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. 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE FUND

By applying for the Impact Fund for Munster, you agree to the following terms and conditions.

  • 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.
  • Awardees (successful Applicants) agree to  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 rescinded because you did not comply with the terms and conditions, the Board of 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.