Rethink Ireland more than a name change

Rethink Ireland more than a name change

Deirdre Mortell joins awardees at The Burren College of Art for the Gamechanger Dialogue.

WE’VE all heard the definition of insanity, of the futility of repeatedly trying the same things and expecting different results.

Well, if tried, tested and well-past-their-best-before-date ideas weren’t working before Covid-19 entered all of our lives, they certainly won’t work now.

A world, and in particular an Ireland, in which everything is new will require fresh new ideas and the courage to back them. Becoming operational in 2015, Rethink Ireland is more than simply a new name for the organisation previously known as Social Innovation Fund Ireland.

It is a call to action for us to move our country forward and make it a better, more inclusive place in which to live and work, where new ideas are welcome and there is a stronger focus on more sustainable solutions.

Rethink Ireland is a registered charity that partners with individuals, families and businesses big and small, identifying the different charities and social enterprises working in communities all over the country, who are making a positive impact on society with projects that can be scaled across Ireland.

The Department of Rural and Community Development matches every euro raised through philanthropy via the Dormant Accounts Fund.

Cork native Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland, said:

“To date we have raised €55 million in funding to support over 200 of the best social innovations in Ireland with cash grants and business support.

“These social innovations have gone to achieve over €12 million in follow-on funding, and have helped 864 people progress into employment.

“We have created 25 funds addressing issues in areas such as equality, education, mental health and more. We are looking to attract more funds to climate justice.

“Ultimately, our vision is to make Ireland a more inclusive, sustainable and equal place because of social innovation.’’

Some of the groups Rethink Ireland has supported have gone on to make big impressions on the community with society-changing transformations.

While some are more widely known social innovators like FoodCloud or Alone, there are those quietly changing people’s lives for the better.

Many of those can be found right here in Cork, such as the UCC Disability Support Service Mentoring Programme, which matches students with a disability or specific learning difficulty with a professional mentor, giving them the opportunity to develop their skills and enhance their employability through regular meetings in the workplace. Last year, the programme ran 71 mentoring partnerships with 9 companies involved, and in 2020 has been one of the recipients of funding and support from Rethink Ireland’s Ability to Work Fund.

There’s never been a more powerful reason to back new ideas and fresh innovations than the situation in which Ireland finds itself as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

If you are an individual, group or corporate in the Cork region and are interested in forming a partnership with Rethink Ireland or donating to one of its funds, the team would look forward to hearing from you at businessdevelopment@rethinkireland.ie

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