Public-private philanthropy partnership could let donors contribute to own areas

Community Foundation Ireland proposes five pilot funds worth €10m each for local donors

Community Foundation Ireland (CFI) has asked local authorities to support the roll out of pilot public-private partnerships to deliver community services.

The foundation, which distributes philanthropic funding, proposes to establish five pilot funds worth €10 million each with €5 million in State funding and €5 million in matched private and business donations.

The plan is that through the fund donors could contribute to communities with which they have a personal or professional connection.

The agency, which has distributed large amounts to communities from fundraising efforts, including the Late Late Toy Show appeal, has identified existing projects it works on that could be expanded.


These include a “Changing Lives” fund in the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown local authority area, where donors and businesses have contributed to parenting initiatives, after-school clubs and an “ageing well in place” project.

It has also identified a sustainability fund in Mayo, currently building on a scoping study which has identified local climate and biodiversity actions, that could be targeted.

Through the pilot fund private donors could work with national and local Government “to deliver real social change through place-based giving initiatives”. Local authorities would be asked to support the administration of the funds and to contribute to initial grants.

The aim is to build long-term endowment funds using €5.5 million or 55 per cent of the total fund. CFI maintains that such funds “have a significant role to play in providing sustainable sources of funding as well as much needed investment in local communities”.

The foundation calls for a national awareness campaign for legacy giving and believes reform of capital acquisitions tax should be considered to incentivise donations from inherited wealth, which it estimates at €9 billion annually.

Urging a commitment to match donations with funding from all Government departments, the agency says the Government can maximise the impact of philanthropic investments.

Denise Charlton, chief executive of CFI, said donors want to give back to their communities and “place-based giving opens up opportunities for local people of all ages. It has the power to transform lives with the delivery of community services, opens up opportunities in education, access to the arts and so much more.”

She added that a partnership approach with public and private funding working together could deliver a greater impact.

“The proposals we are making are informed by both our experience as a philanthropic hub delivering supports to communities through a network of 5,000 partner organisations as well as extensive research.

“It is our hope that policymakers both locally and nationally will see the value of partnership and work with us to deliver the innovative local funds.”

The foundation outlines the details and philosophy of the plan in a local election manifesto called A Sense of Place which it plans to distribute to councils and candidates.

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Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times