The Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Empowerment Fund 2023 – 2026 is a $1 million, three-year fund created by Rethink Ireland in partnership with Bank of America and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund.
Building on the success of the previous Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund 2019 – 2022, Rethink Ireland is now launching the Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Empowerment Fund that aims to support women facing intersecting forms of disadvantage into sustainable employment and educational pathways. The Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Empowerment Fund will be focused on achieving deep and transformative impact by supporting women experiencing intersectionality – multiple forms of disadvantage and discrimination – with complex needs. Women facing intersecting forms of disadvantage are the furthest from the labour market and benefit from intensive wraparound support to enable them to transition into employment or education.
The Fund’s goal is to promote access to employment and/or education programmes for 850+ migrant women OR women experiencing socio-economic disadvantage in Ireland. Furthermore, the Fund aims to empower 260+ of these women into employment.
The Fund offers a package of cash grants and non-financial supports to the value of €175,500 for up to 4 to 5 projects, to help them expand and increase their social impact.
* 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.
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:
Projects must meet both Rethink Ireland’s criteria and the specific criteria for Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Empowerment Fund, as set out below:
Rethink Ireland Criteria
Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Empowerment Fund Core Criteria
To be successful in the selection process, the projects must;
*Please note: Projects must meet all 4 core criteria to be successful.
Fund Advantageous Criteria
To be successful, it would be an advantage if the project:
*Please note: Projects do not need to meet all advantageous criteria to be successful.
Which projects cannot apply?
Projects that are not eligible to apply are:
Which applicants cannot apply?
Applicants that are not eligible to apply are:
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 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)?
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 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:
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.
Please note: Applications for this Fund are now closed.
What is involved in completing the application form?
The application form asks you for information about:
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:
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?
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens after we submit our application?
How does the selection process work?
The selection process is very rigorous and consists of a number of stages:
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.
By applying for The Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Empowerment Fund, you agree to the following terms and conditions.