Rethink Ireland elects new Chair of the Board and appoints new Board members to lead positive change fuelled by social innovation

Pictured at Rethink Ireland’s Cork event, from left to right are: Áine Kerr, newly elected Chair of Rethink Ireland Board of Directors; new board member, Professor Michael Shevlin, Director of the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities; Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland; and new Board member John Fitzgerald, Founder of the Harmonics group. Picture: Michael O'Sullivan

Rethink Ireland is delighted to announce the election of its new Chair of the Board of Directors – award-winning entrepreneur Áine Kerr – and the appointment of two new board members, Professor Michael Shevlin of the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities and John Fitzgerald, Founder of the Harmonics group. Ground-breaking in their fields of expertise, they join the organisation in leading positive social change through social innovation. Rethink Ireland supports the most innovative non-profit organisations working in Irish communities. 

To date, Rethink Ireland has created a €95 million social innovation fund for Ireland, opening 48 social impact focused funds and backing 394 awardee non-profit organisations across five key areas including Health, Education, Equality, Social Enterprise, and Green Transition. These funds have reached 829,425 people in Ireland whilst also supporting 2,700 people into employment.

Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland said: “I am thrilled to welcome the award-winning entrepreneur Áine Kerr as our new chair, and new board members Professor Michael Shevlin, Professor of Inclusive Education at TCD and leader of the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities, and John Fitzgerald, an expert in People and Organisation. All three are trailblazers in their fields bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to our organisation as together we lead the way to an equal, just and sustainable Ireland. Over the past six years we have created a €95 million social innovation fund for Ireland. In the run up to 2030, we plan to accelerate funding for positive social impact to meet the diverse and growing needs of communities in Ireland.”

She continued: “Critically, we support organisations that are thinking differently, finding new ways to solve urgent problems and putting their ideas into practice. We enable philanthropy to effect positive social change through our venture philanthropy model which combines funds with business supports. The success of this model is clearly evident in the great impact of our Funds as directly experienced in communities.”

Áine Kerr, new Chair of the Board at Rethink Ireland, said: “I am honoured to be elected chair of the board at Rethink Ireland. Social innovation is an exciting growth area that’s central to positive change and solving immediate issues in our society. It is a privilege to be part of this movement. Rethink Ireland is now 7 years old and developing its Strategic Plan 2024-26 this year. I look forward to contributing to this and leading the Board through the next stage of growth and impact.”

As Rethink Ireland holds its annual event in Cork, the organisation is also highlighting 99 awards of funding to organisations in Munster with 33 of these in Cork. The Munster region has received over €9.76 million in funding through Rethink Ireland awards. 

Read more on Rethink Ireland’s vision for change by 2030 in our Manifesto.