Arts to Impact Fund 2020

WHAT IS THE arts to impact FUND 

The Arts to Impact Fund has been created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) in partnership with the Department of Rural and Community Development. The Department of Rural and Community Development provides match funding for all philanthropic funds raised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland, via the Dormant Accounts Fund.

Arts and culture have always been important aspects of human civilisation, both promoting individual expression and strengthening and bridging communities. We recognise the power of arts and culture to improve lives. Through the Arts to Impact Fund, we are aiming to support the most innovative projects across the country that are using arts and culture as a means to create positive social impact in Ireland.

As part of the application requirements, we are asking applicants to demonstrate that they have secured private or philanthropic funding for the duration of this fund. If the applicant is successful we will provide a comprehensive programme to support its social impact. This includes; matching their donation by providing a 50% uplift on their funds, as well as delivering a programme of capacity building incorporating strategic planning, impact measurement and peer mentoring.

The Arts to Impact Fund application form is available here.

THE arts to impact FUND OBJECTIVE

The goal of the fund is to support the innovative use of arts and culture as a means to improve skills development and to promote social inclusion for children, adolescents and adults.

Projects can focus on prevention or intervention, in order to develop or improve creative, cognitive, social and emotional skills and other specific learning outcomes.

The Arts to Impact Fund aims to have wider impact and will contribute to Ireland’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

WHAT DOES THE arts to impact FUND OFFER?

  • 50% uplift on philanthropic funds raised by applicants (applicants must provide evidence to verify the private funding has been secured) 
  • Capacity building programme including strategic planning, communications and impact measurement 
  • Peer to peer networking and knowledge sharing
  • Workshops and one-to-one support 
  • A platform for awardees to showcase their work at an awards event


Successful applicants are asked to provide evidence to verify the philanthropic funding they have secured. 

We require:

  1. A minimum of €20,000 philanthropic funding per year, minimum period of 2 years and maximum period of 4 years, for participation in the Programme.
  2.  A Donor Letter of Commitment must be provided in support of this application outlining the amount of funding and the duration (SIFI will provide a template donor letter for donor to complete).


Download a presentation on the fund for potential donors here.

Find a template for the donor-letter-of-commitment.

How the funding process works

  • These private philanthropic funds are paid to Social Innovation Fund Ireland annually
  • Social Innovation Fund Ireland provides evidence of committed donor funds to Government
  • Government releases funding to Social Innovation Fund Ireland
  • Following this, Social Innovation Fund Ireland provides an uplift of 50% on the donor funds and makes a grant to successful applicants

Example: Applicant has raised €60,000 in private funds over 3 years (€20,000 per year).

Secured donor funds

Arts to Impact Fund uplift

Applicant donor funds per year

No. of years

Total donor funds

SIFI Uplift (50%) per year

SIFI total uplift for 3 years  

Total funds (Including donor and SIFI uplift) over 3 years







The Arts to Impact Fund provides a total uplift to the €60,000 of €30,000 making a total fund of €90,000. This €90,000 is paid over the 3 years at €30,000 per year (€20,000 donor funds and €10,000 SIFI uplift).

* Applicants are permitted to have different donors over the funding period i.e. Donor 1 provides €20,000 in year 1, Donor 2 provides €20,000 in year 2. However, donor commitment must be established by way of a donor letter, as part of the application to SIFI. 



Applicants should be able to demonstrate how they:

  • focus on improving skills development  
  • promote social inclusion for children, adolescents and adults through the innovative use of arts and culture.

All applicants should have an  evidence base for their project and have an evaluation or assessment component.

Applicants should also be able to demonstrate that they have raised private or philanthropic funding for the period proposed and that the programme cannot be carried out without the match funding of SIFI.


Applicants must have not-for-profit legal status to be considered for the Arts to Impact Fund. For example: charity, company limited by guarantee, trust etc…

Projects applying to the Arts to Impact Fund must meet the standard SIFI and Arts to Impact Fund core criteria listed below:


  • The project must address a critical social issue
  • The project proposed must be innovative in an Irish context
  • The project must have potential and a desire to scale or replicate in Ireland (it may also have potential internationally, but this is not a requirement)
  • The project must provide evidence that it is up and running, or has been tested at least in a minimal way
  • The project must be based on the island of Ireland and make its main impact in the Republic of Ireland
  • Applicants must come from an eligible entity (refer above)

Arts to impact fund CORE CRITERIA

  • Projects must use arts and culture as their core methodology with a view to developing or improving the following skills for children, adolescents or adults:
    • creative
    • emotional and social
    • cognitive
    • other specific learning outcomes
  • Projects must demonstrate a social inclusion approach
  • Projects must use an evidence-based approach (such as best practices from internationally accredited programs)
  • Projects must have a research or evaluation component, for example, it must have built in an assessment or evaluation of impact from the start
  • Projects must have secured a minimum of €20,000 per year for 2 years in private pledged philanthropic donations.


  • Projects supporting children, adolescents or adults experiencing disadvantage (this includes but is not limited to people with an intellectual, physical, sensory or learning disability, people with a mental health issue, and people experiencing socio-economic or other disadvantages)
  • Projects supporting members of marginalised communities (including but not limited to LGBTI+ people, people with an ethnic minority or migrant status and ex-offenders or ex-prisoners)
  • Projects that demonstrate partnerships with other existing organisations (national or international)
  • Projects that employ a holistic approach – school-wide or community approach


The Arts to Impact Fund is open for applications from Wednesday, July 17th 2019 until Wednesday, January 22nd 2020 at 5pm.


The Arts to Impact Fund application form is available here.

If filling out the application form in this format is difficult for you, for whatever reason, please get in touch with Ellie at


Awardees will be expected to:

  • Complete progress reports on their activities (up to four per year)
  • Submit an bi-annual report on project progress against the relevant Sustainable Development Goals. 
  • Attend at least 5 full days of training workshops and showcase events per annum
  • Commit at least 5 full days to planning, leadership, storytelling, impact measurement, and other supports per annum


How many awards will be made?

The number of awards will be dependent upon the quality of applicants.

What can the awardee spend the funds on?

The funds must be spent on the project that won the Award. The specific use of the funds will be agreed between Social Innovation Fund Ireland and the Awardee.

Funds may not be used to pay off debts or purchase capital items such as land, equipment, renovations or buildings.

Who will decide who wins the Awards?

Final decisions are made by the Board of Social Innovation Fund Ireland.

What is the selection process?

  • Stage 1: Call for Applications – July 2019 to January 2020
  • Stage 2: Review by an expert Advisory Group – February 2020
  • Stage 3: Interviews – March 2020
  • Stage 4: Final due diligence on recommended candidates – April 2020
  • Stage 5: Decision by Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Board – May 2020

Please Note: The selection process takes a number of months to complete

How do applicants find out where they are in the selection process?

All applicants will be informed by telephone or email.

What projects are not eligible?

  • Projects seeking funding for capital items – buildings, vans, renovations, equipment etc.
  • Research projects
  • Party political projects
  • Projects that do not provide a benefit to people or the environment e.g. projects that benefit animals only
  • Projects that screen beneficiaries in or out by faith or religious denomination
  • Projects where the main impact is outside the Republic of Ireland
  • Projects led by people under 18 years
  • Projects that are an idea (only) and that have not yet started
  • Projects that are recipients of SIFI’s Arts to Impact Fund 2019 are not eligible to apply to this Fund   

What applicants are not eligible? 

  • Applicants must be over 18 years old.
  • Applications must come from an entity that has a not for profit legal form e.g. a school, charity or social enterprise. For profit entities are excluded.
  • Social Innovation Fund Ireland staff, directors and their immediate family members*, are excluded from applying.

* Immediate family member includes sibling, parent, spouse or civil partner, or child. 


By applying for the Arts to Impact Fund, all applicants have agreed to the Terms & Conditions. Please ensure you have read and understood the Terms & Conditions before beginning your application.

  • Social Innovation Fund Ireland will match donations by providing a 50% uplift on funds secured. 50% of the total match uplift received from Government covers administrative costs, project management, and programme costs (see “Funding Requirements” above for a breakdown of the funding mechanism).
  • All applicants warrant that they are over 18 years of age.
  • All applicants warrant that they have engaged fully and truthfully with the application process and will engage fully and truthfully with the selection process. This includes providing full and accurate information, both written and verbal, at all stages of the process.
  • All applicants warrant that they are eligible to apply.
  • All applicants warrant that they have the right to apply. This means that they hold the necessary rights to carry out the project.

Please contact us at with any questions you have on the criteria. If you have any questions about the fundraising requirement of this fund please contact Padraic Vallely at