Growing Irish Philanthropy

Submission by Community Foundation Ireland

Philanthropy in action, Community Foundation Ireland and its donors believe in #EmpoweringGenerations as part of an equality mission.


Time for Meaningful Actions

Community Foundation Ireland is calling for a new National Policy on Philanthropy to take meaningful actions which can help end serious social and equality issues by promoting and growing private giving.

The Foundation, a philanthropic hub which has provided over €120 Million in grant-making since 2000 to support an equality mission, is today (30th June 2023) publishing recommendations for the new policy which is expected to be announced in the Autumn.

In its response ‘Growing Irish Philanthropy’ the Foundation says by taking the right steps now Government can ensure agile, innovative, and courageous responses to climate action, the cost-of living crisis and inequality in all its forms.

The Community Foundation is making four recommendations for inclusion in the final policy.

The Recommendations

Sustainable Futures Endowment Fund: The Foundation proposes the creation of a ‘Sustainable Futures Endowment Fund,’ backed by a €10M government seed funding. Combined with existing grant-making, this initiative ensures perpetual climate and biodiversity grant-making for communities. Drawing inspiration from the Foundation’s own growth, which originated from a €1M government seed funding in 2000 and has since provided over €120M in grants, this model proves its sustainability.

Cross Government Commitment to Match Funding: Highlighting the success of joint projects involving private and public funding, the Foundation urges a commitment to match funding across all government departments and agencies. By encouraging match-funding, especially in response to critical issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, biodiversity conservation, and groundbreaking gender equality research, the government can maximise the impact of philanthropic investments.

Promoting and Growing Legacy Giving: To align Ireland with other nations, notably the UK and US, in terms of legacy giving, the Foundation advocates for a national awareness campaign. Practical measures, including reforming Capital Acquisition Tax to incentivize donations from inherited wealth, should be considered. The Foundation’s upcoming research, scheduled for release in July 2023, will shed further light on the potential of inter-generational wealth transfer, estimated at €9bn annually.

Place-Based Giving: Recognising the power of place-based philanthropy, especially within Irish values and culture, Community Foundation Ireland emphasises its potential to increase giving and facilitate impactful grant-making. Drawing from its successful place-based giving initiatives such as the Monaghan Fund and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Community Fund, the Foundation encourages the development of pilot funds and initiatives at the national and local levels to unlock the full potential of place-based approaches.

Publishing ‘Growing Irish Philanthropy’ Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of Community Foundation Ireland, said:

Community Foundation Ireland, as a philanthropic hub on a mission to achieve Equality for All in Thriving Communities, welcomes the opportunity to make recommendations.

“Each is informed by insights from our 5,000 voluntary, community and charitable partners as well as donors who have provided more than €120 Million in grant-making since 2000.

The Foundation is making four recommendations which recognise philanthropic giving as agile, innovative, and brave. They acknowledge the national policy as a framework for action for philanthropists, beneficiaries, and government to work more collaboratively and effectively.”