How we can unlock Ireland’s potential

Philanthropy will play an important role in how Ireland tackles the challenges ahead, says Pádraic Vallely, Business Development Manager at Rethink Ireland
How we can unlock Ireland’s potential

Rethink Ireland developed the Sustainable Cork Fund, which supports the sustainability of Cork’s urban and rural communities

IRELAND, 2030. The Irish economy’s success is measured by the equality we achieve, and the physical and mental health of our people and environment.

Our regional and rural communities are thriving; Ireland is a European leader in the green transition, and our society actively protects the rights of our most marginalised communities.

This is Rethink Ireland’s Manifesto for the Future.

But how will this vision be achieved?

By bold next generation leaders who, through philanthropy, will play a key role in redistributing wealth to create a more equal society.

At Rethink Ireland, we provide cash grants and business support to social innovations who are tackling some of the most important social issues facing our community — whether it is marginalisation of migrants or the Traveller community; identifying and removing barriers to women entering the workforce, or innovative solutions to reduce our environmental impact on the planet.

We do this by joining forces with the Government, companies, families, individuals and foundations, who understand as we do that lasting change demands new thinking. Essentially, we are a venture philanthropy fund.

This means that we exercise the same discipline and rigour you would expect of venture capital funds, searching for the most remarkable innovations to invest in.

But the difference is we measure a project’s success by the social impact it generates.

Pádraic Vallely, Business Development Manager at Rethink Ireland
Pádraic Vallely, Business Development Manager at Rethink Ireland

Just a few weeks ago, we launched our five Five Year Impact Report, which celebrated our milestones to date.

Since we were founded in 2016, we have created a €72 million social innovation fund, helping almost 1,000 people to overcome barriers to gain employment, and creating more than 500 jobs.

These figures have only been achieved thanks to the generous support of our philanthropic partners — partners such as Cork Chamber of Commerce, who helped us develop the Sustainable Cork Fund which supported not-for-profit organisations to increase the sustainability of Cork’s urban and rural communities through environmental, social and economic innovations.

Thanks to Cork Chamber of Commerce, three organisations were supported:

Nasc’s Gateway to Inclusion project, which provides supports for female migrants and refugees to pursue education and employment opportunities;

NCE Outreach, which offers further education, training and employment for people engaged in post-addiction treatment programmes and probation services;

and Refill.ie which will provide innovative initiatives to help eradicate single use plastic water bottles in Cork City and County.

We have made significant strides over the past five years — creating 30 separate funds working towards positive social impact, and supporting almost 250 social innovations like Nasc, NCE Outreach, and Refill.ie.

However, as Ireland begins its journey of recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, now is the time to go further — to build a country that is equal and focused on sustainable solutions.

To achieve our vision for Ireland, we need philanthropists. We need organisations like Mason Hayes and Curran, Bank of America, State Street — all of whom are already supporting our work.

We are calling on philanthropists, companies, individuals and families who are interest in making smart philanthropic investments and achieving long-lasting results to get in touch with us.

Rethink Ireland is not just a name to us — it is actually a call to action. We are calling on people in Cork and around the country to join us in supporting the best social innovations in Ireland.

Rethink Ireland (previously Social Innovation Fund Ireland) supports the most innovative non-profit organisations working in communities across the country. We believe that a team effort is more effective than working alone.

Further information is available at: www.rethinkireland.ie.

Follow Rethink Ireland on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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