Access to the Arts

Community Foundation Ireland’s role in Art Philanthropy

Mella Cahill, Snr Grants and Donor Care Executive, outlines the creativity, excitement and joy happening with the support of our donors.

Community Foundation Ireland is a philanthropic hub at the forefront of fostering creativity, inclusivity, and community engagement through its support for the arts.

We believe access to the Arts is an equality issue and therefor is an important part of our mission.

Since the year 2000, the Community Foundation has committed €6 million to over 300 grants, which are creating a lasting mark on the cultural landscape of Ireland.

Strategic Grantees Transforming Lives

Community Foundation Ireland’s commitment to the arts is exemplified through our key strategic grantees. Organizations like Children’s Books Ireland have been instrumental in introducing a culture of reading to DEIS schools. The ‘Every Child a Reader’ program brings new books and a vibrant reading culture to four schools in marginalized areas.

The Baboro Arts Festival stands out for its dedication to bringing the arts to children with disabilities. With over €300,000 in funding through the RTÉ Toy Show Appeal, the festival has extended its reach to schools and worked with children facing severe life-limiting illnesses and disabilities.

The Model in Sligo has also thrived with multi-annual funding from the Foundation.

Their collaborations include art projects, public art in urban spaces, and workshops with children and young people in rural areas.

The significant support, totalling more than €320,000 since 2016, has enabled Sligo Global Kitchen to grow from a modest beginning in 2015 to serving over 400 people today.

Art for Social Change

We recognise the ability of the art to bring about positive social change. It gives a voice to those who otherwise may not be heard.

This was evident in the Cork Arts Fund when an anonymous donor came forward with a vision to support local projects which would platform creativity from new artists. The results were incredible with 10 new stage productions, new art installations and exhibits using a range of materials.

Not only was new talent discovered but artists living with disabilities, of a migrant background and those seeking to restart their lives were given an opportunity to tell their story.

Building Capacity

As a philanthropic hub we always believe in going beyond providing grants. One of the ways we do this is to actively contribute to building capacity within the arts sector. Organizations like Helium Arts and Spraoi Agus Sport have leveraged additional funds to scale up their work. Helium Arts, supported with €150,000 over the years from the RTÉ Toy Show Appeal, secured more than €500,000 in additional funding to empower children living with lifelong physical health conditions through creativity and play.

To further solidify our commitment to nurturing the transformative impact of the arts on society, we are delighted to sponsor the ‘Creative Access Award’ category at the landmark Business to Arts Awards. This category is dedicated to celebrating the visionary businesses, philanthropists and arts organisations whose purposeful partnerships enable arts engagement for marginalised or underrepresented communities.

Join our Artistic Journey

As we reflect on this impactful journey of supporting the arts. I invite you to be a part of our mission. Should the thought of making a lasting impact through philanthropy in the arts resonate with you, connect with me at