Deirdre Mortell has been named as April’s Cork Person of the Month for her contributions to social innovation and philanthropy in Ireland.
Deirdre is the CEO of Rethink Ireland, an organisation that provides cash grants and business support to the social innovations that are making a difference across Ireland.
Since 2016, Rethink Ireland has provided support to 333 social innovations through 36 different funds, which in turn have created at least 677 jobs in the not-for-profit sector.
These funds have supported over 1,000 people into employment and reached over 530,000 people nationwide.
Through her work with Rethink Ireland, Deirdre has supported 25 Cork-based social innovations over the last six years such as the Rainbow Club in Mahon, the Cork Life Centre in Sunday’s Well, and Sensational Kids in Clonakilty, as well as SiSi in Schull.
Last year alone, Rethink Ireland supported seven awardees headquartered in Cork who employed 21 people, were supported by 75 volunteers and delivered services to 1,117 people.
The Cork woman is also a founding board member of Women for Election, a non-profit which inspires, equips and informs women to run for political office.
Deirdre is CONNECT’s Social Entrepreneur in Residence and has worked in Ireland’s leading non-profit organisations, holding senior roles in fundraising & communications in Oxfam and Barnardos.
Prior to her current role, Deirdre co-founded and led the ONE Foundation for ten years, leading the support of high potential non-profit organisations in Ireland and Vietnam to deliver their goals.
During this period, she was part of the launch teams for Jigsaw, now a nationwide youth mental health service, and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.
She has also co-written a book entitled, ‘Establishing a Venture Philanthropy Fund in Europe: A Practical Guide’.
Speaking about Deirdre’s Cork Honour, awards organiser, Manus O’Callaghan, said “I would recommend that people look at Rethink Ireland’s website to see the enormity of their work. Projects they have been involved in include Foodcloud, iScoil and Women’s Freedom From Fear Fund. They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and Deirdre’s father Michael Mortell, past president of UCC, was a winner of the Cork Person of the Year award back in 1994."