What is Irish Philanthropy?

New research reveals views of Entrepreneurs

A form of ‘Irish Philanthropy’ has emerged from new research (13th Nov 2023) which interviewed entrepreneurs to inform a new National Policy currently being finalised by Government.

‘Irish Philanthropy – An Entrepreneurs View’ identifies areas of action which could be used to bring levels of larger gift giving here into line with other countries, including Britain, European countries and the US.

Commissioned by Community Foundation Ireland and the Community Foundation Northern Ireland, the research is informed by interviews with entrepreneurs with a strong interest in giving back for the benefit of wider society.

The findings show that philanthropic giving here is often more private and ‘less brash’ than the experience in other countries. A sense of place where the donor seeks to support a community, village, town, city or other region where they are personally or professionally emotionally attached is also central to the model of giving which emerges.


End Government Suspicion of Philanthropy. An open-ness to match funding arrangements where philanthropic giving works in partnership with public funds is seen as a motivation for greater giving

Grow Placed Based Giving. The new National Policy on Philanthropy should harness the growing trend towards this form of giving by introducing pilot regional funds, which sees local philanthropy and local Government working together

Increase Awareness. The lack of knowledge for donors to on how to start giving, or their philanthropic journey, requires awareness raising with input from Government

Incentivise Philanthropy. In Budget 2024 Government committed to engage stakeholders to examine how greater giving can be incentivised and promoted, this research supports such an approach

Graphic setting out the recommendations.


Informing Policy

Launching the study, Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of Community Foundation Ireland, said:

“Capturing these views is essential for the Government to achieve its goal of growing philanthropy for greater good. The need is shown to develop a new model for philanthropy rather than transplanting those in the US, Europe or other parts of the world.

Clearly identified is giving with a sense of place. This Placed Based Giving comes through very strong and is in line with trends both Community Foundations have identified in recent years. Giving to a community where a donor lives or works, or to where they grew up, is a very strong motivator.

While many entrepreneurs have a willingness and openness to giving there is a lack of awareness and knowledge about how to make a start. What is encouraging is the widely held view that philanthropy is a journey rather than a one-off occurrence. Philanthropy itself requires an entrepreneurial spirit, making strategic gifts which have a lasting impact. It is therefore no surprise that it is viewed as a way to continue to innovate, make a difference and apply funds productively.

Entrepreneurs seek to see that the money invested has been used wisely and has ‘moved the dial’.

There is a strong desire to tackle root causes rather than the more traditional approach of charitable giving.

The findings of this report provide a roadmap to inform future policies to build on the growth in philanthropy which has been occurring in recent years.”

This research by Jane Williams of SIA Partners was commissioned by both Foundations. It involved interviews with 22 successful entrepreneurs. It is being published as part of a continuing partnership approach by Community Foundation Ireland in the process to form the new National Policy on Philanthropy.


Your Copy

Full Research available HERE.

About Community Foundation Ireland

Community Foundation Ireland and its donors are on a shared mission of equality for all in thriving communities. Together with 5,000 voluntary, community and charitable partners we are a philanthropic hub for Ireland which is a source of knowledge, expertise and information to ensure effective and strategic giving. Since its establishment with Government seed funding of €1M in the year 2000, the Foundation has provided more than €120 Million in grant-making.