One million lives in communities across Ireland have been transformed by social innovation backed by Rethink Ireland, as the organisation marks the impact of a €109 million milestone fund built over seven years.  

Since 2016, Rethink Ireland has partnered with companies like, Bank of America, and IPB Insurance as well as families, individuals and foundations to build a €109 million social innovation fund. The €109 million fund has reached over one million people, launched 58 funds, backing 448 innovative projects, supporting 137,134 learners, creating 998 jobs in the non-profit sector and supporting 3,309 people into employment. 

At a celebration with donors and awardee organisations, Rethink Ireland launched the report that documents the transformative impact on one million people. The event was hosted by supporting partners, including the Family Business Network. 

Mr. Joe O’Brien T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Department of Social Protection and at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth said: “I am delighted to be here today to celebrate and mark the impact of Rethink Ireland’s work. The Department of Rural and Community Development and Rethink Ireland have forged a phenomenal working relationship, working together towards a more just, equal, and sustainable Ireland for all. This collaborative approach has seen the growth of philanthropic donations and Government match-funding, that have today reached over €109 million in funding being provided for social innovation community-based programmes and projects. Through their work, and more importantly, the impact that they have on communities all across the country, Rethink Ireland advocates and highlights the power of Philanthropy.” 

Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Rethink Ireland, commented:  “Our impact has been felt so much greater and further than we could ever have dreamed by reaching one million people in our communities. This is about Philanthropy fuelling innovation – our unique venture philanthropy model helps strengthen and advance non-profits resulting in scale and, critically, systems change​.” 

“While we are marking a €109 million social innovation fund milestone, we are, crucially, focused on the long-term goal of a just, equal and sustainable Ireland, and we are committed to accelerating funding in the next five years to harness the momentum built.” 

“We are deeply grateful to the Government of Ireland, and the businesses, families, and individuals who partner with us to catalyse change in the areas of equality, education, health, social enterprise and the green transition.” 

“This first one million people reached is just chapter one in our story of the impact social innovation is making. We’re looking forward to writing the next chapter as we continue to Rethink Ireland.”  

One organisation backed by Rethink Ireland, Sensational Kids, is a social enterprise providing vital front-line therapeutic supports for children with additional needs. Funded by Rethink Ireland to scale over four years, Sensational Kids grew its presence from a base in Kildare, to operate in every province, changing the lives of more than 10,000 children and saving their families over €2.5 million in therapy fees.​ 

Another organisation, Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities (TCPID) demonstrates the importance of equality and systems change. The Centre promotes the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in education and society, providing the opportunity to participate in a higher education programme designed to enhance their capacity to fully participate in society as independent adults. The proven success of the TCPID model, as an exemplar of best practice, has persuaded the government to introduce a pathfinding pilot programme providing funding supports to ten higher education institutions in Ireland for expanded access to education for people with intellectual disabilities. 

Chair of Rethink Ireland’s Board, Áine Kerr said: “With foresight, imagination, and courage, social innovation could solve some of society’s biggest challenges. Imagine if the social enterprise model was the norm rather than the exception. Imagine if we could eradicate the term “mental health crisis” by expanding prevention initiatives throughout Ireland. Imagine if we could leave behind a healthy, sustainable environment for future generations.” 

“We already know that the future we envision is possible and that social innovation can thrive and contribute to Ireland’s long-term success. We’re excited to imagine an Ireland where we can become a €200 million fund.” 

Rethink Ireland informs policy-making​ in Ireland and globally, including the National Philanthropy Policy​ and the creation of a Blueprint for Social Innovation, championing best practices in Europe. For more about Rethink Ireland, please visit  

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