Open Fund

The Social Innovation Regeneration Fund

Closing Date

The Social Innovation Regeneration Fund aims to build the capacity of social innovations with proven impact and a desire to scale. This Fund has been set up to support previous Rethink Ireland awardees who have encountered a temporary core funding gap and are seeking support to revisit their business model and improve their financial sustainability.

Over the past three years, social innovations have grappled with challenges like the Covid-19 pandemic, enforced closures, the Ukraine war, and the cost-of-living crisis. These changes in the external environment mean that some social innovations are experiencing a core funding gap i.e. a gap of financial resources that can be spent on their core functions, such as senior management salaries, communications, operations, governance, income generation, or other spending that is not project-specific.

This two-year Fund offers a package of cash grants and non-financial supports to a maximum value of €950,000 for up to 3 organisations, to help them address their recent core funding gap by reviewing their financial/business models. Ultimately this Fund aims to support successful applicants to improve their financial sustainability and increase their social impact. 

What do successful applicants get? 

  • A minimum 50% uplift on funding secured* 
  • A place on Rethink Ireland’s Accelerator Programme
  • A tailored non financial supports package to support them to improve their financial sustainability including supports in the areas of financial/business modelling, market assessments and growth strategies
  • Access to Rethink Ireland’s networks

*Applicants need to secure philanthropic funding commitments totalling at least €200,000 (€100,000 per annum) to make an application. 

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 is the deadline for applications?

You can apply to the Social Innovation Regeneration Fund via the online portal from Tuesday 24th October 2023 to Friday 16th February 2024 at 1pm. 

Please join us for our application clinics to find out more and answer any questions that you have. Applications received after 16th February will not be considered.  

  • Friday 10th November 2023 at 12 pm: register   
  • Thursday 23rd November 2023 at 12 pm: register 
  • Tuesday 9th January 2024 at 12 pm: register  

For any questions you may have, please contact 

Who can apply?

Eligibility & Criteria

Projects must meet both Rethink Ireland’s criteria and the specific criteria for the Social Innovation Regeneration Fund, as set out below:

Rethink Ireland Criteria 

  • The project must address a critical social 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, voluntary organisation, Company Limited by Guarantee among other not-for-profit legal forms.

Social Innovation Regeneration Fund Core Criteria 

Applicants must

  • Be a previous recipient of Rethink Ireland funding and have graduated from a Rethink Ireland programme 
  • Have been operating for at least 3-5 years with a developed strategic plan, funding base and evidence of impact
  • Have a proven track record of impact and have clear ambition to increase their impact
  • Be experiencing a temporary core funding challenge and have a clear need to revisit their business model 
  • Have the motivation and capacity to revisit their strategy and business model as part of this Fund
  • Be able to secure philanthropic funding commitments totalling at least €200,000 (€100,000 per annum) 

Advantageous criteria

  • Organisations engaging meaningfully with minority/disadvantaged groups including but not limited to those led by women, ex-prisoners, recovering addicts, Travellers, and migrants.
  • Organisations that have a positive effect on Ireland’s Green Transition through their activities/interventions. This criteria applies if the organisation tackles issues related to the environment and green transition such as carbon reduction, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, pollution and/or the just transition.

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.
  • Applicants who are not previous awardees of Rethink Ireland
  • Current Rethink Ireland awardees. 

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

Yes. This fund is open to previous awardees of Rethink Ireland only. 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?
Awardees on one of our Funds that have cash grant payments remaining after the commencement of the new fund programme are not eligible to apply. 

Is this just for large-scale, national organisations?

No, it is not, and indeed we welcome applications from not-for-profit organisations that meet the 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? 

Organisations should submit one application as this Fund aims to support organisations who are experiencing a temporary core funding gap.

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 and you meet the other eligibility criteria above. 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. Note that this Fund primarily aims to support individual organisations to review their business models and improve their financial sustainability.

What does the Fund offer?

There will be up to 3 awards available in total, and each Awardee will receive a cash grant, a business supports package, a place on our capacity building programme and access to Rethink Ireland’s networks.

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 avail of Rethink Ireland’s Accelerator Programme as appropriate. 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 relevant areas such as strategy development, business modelling and financial modelling. Supports will be designed in consultation with the successful oganisations.
  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 Rethink Ireland Programme, which includes attending workshops and spending time working 1:1 with a business/strategy consultant.

Funding requirements

You will be required to provide a ‘Donor Letter of Commitment’ when submitting your application. Please download this letter for editing. 

The minimum amount of philanthropic funding eligible for uplift funding is €200,000 (€100,000 per annum). 

Note that 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.

If you are successful, you will be asked to provide further evidence to verify the private funding you have secured.

How the funding process works: 

  • These private funds, once received by the awardee, are transferred to Rethink Ireland and then returned to the awardee within 30 days.* 
  • Rethink Ireland provides evidence of committed donor funds to Government.
  • Government releases funding to Rethink Ireland. 
  • Rethink Ireland provides an uplift of 50% on the donor funds and makes uplift payments to the awardee and provides non-financial supports.

*The philanthropic funding can be received and transferred in instalments but uplift funding will only be available once philanthropic funding has been received and transferred. All funding should be received by the awardee and transferred to Rethink Ireland in 2024 or in 2024 and 2025. All funding should be received and transferred by 30th June 2025 latest.

For example: If an applicant raises €200,000 in private funds over 2 years, Rethink Ireland will provide an uplift of €100,000 in total. The total Rethink Ireland cash grant will be calculated as €300,000 (private funds plus uplift). 

How do we apply?

Complete the application via the online portal from 24th October 2023 to 16th February 2024 at 1pm. 

What is involved in completing the application form?

The application form asks you for information about:

  • your organisation and eligibility for the Fund (section 1)
  • the problem that your organisation seeks to address (section 2)
  • your impact to date and plans to increase your impact (section 3)
  • what makes your organisation innovative (section 4) 
  • how this Fund would help you to improve your financial sustainability (section 4)
  • your directors and trustees (section 6)
  • your referees (section 7)

Section 5 of the application form also asks you to send us additional documents and a short video (see details below – the video 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 your story in 2 – 3 mins max. Please tell us:  

  • who you are
  • why you are applying for the award
  • the funding challenge that your organisation is facing
  • how you would like to address that challenge and increase your financial sustainability and impact
  • how this Fund could help you

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 additional information do we need to submit with our application?

  1. We require the most recent audited/full accounts for your organisation.
  2. All applicants must outline how they intend to use the grant if successful and upload a proposed budget. A spreadsheet template is provided in the relevant section of the application form. 
  3. Donor Letter of Commitment. Please review the Funding Requirements Section.
  4. Latest strategic / business plan and current three-year financial projections
  5. Any evaluations or impact data verifications available

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

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 (24th October 2023 – 16th February 2024)
  • Stage 2 – Eligibility screen and internal and external reviews of applications (end of February)
  • Stage 3 – Due Diligence/Governance checks on short-listed applicants (early March) and Interviews for shortlisted applicants (13th  – 15th March)
  • Stage 4 – Final checks on short-listed applicants (March)
  • Stage 5 – Final decision by Rethink Ireland board (early May)

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. 

What happens after the selection process? 

  • Successful applicants will be informed in early May
  • The cash grants will be delivered over the two years and are tied to agreed performance milestones. 
  • The Accelerator Programme will run from July 2024 to June 2026. 
  • The Accelerator supports will be designed in consultation with the awardees and reflect organisational/project needs. 
  • The Fund will close in June 2026.

Terms and Conditions

By applying for Social Innovation Regeneration Fund, 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.