Early Childhood Fund

WHAT IS THE Early childhood FUND 

The Early Childhood 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.

Through the Early Childhood Fund, we are aiming to support the families in Ireland who need the most help in achieving better outcomes for their children.

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 match their donation by providing a 50% uplift on their funds, as well as delivering other supports such as training,impact measurement and capacity building.

THE Early childhood FUND OBJECTIVE

The goal of the fund is to provide critical support to projects and services focused on increasing the health and wellbeing (physical and mental), social and emotional skills, cognitive development and learning outcomes of children, from pregnancy to six years of age, with the goal of reduced inequalities, improved childhood and lifelong outcomes.

As suggested by the most up to date evidence, priority will be given to projects focused on prevention and early intervention approaches, targeting children and/or parents/guardians.

We are calling out to innovative projects or programmes in Ireland that focus on improving outcomes for children from prenatal development through to six years of age through one or a combination of the following: 

  • Improving physical and mental health and wellbeing
  • Emotional wellbeing and attachment (infant mental health)
  • Social Skills
  • Language and cognitive development

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

WHAT DOES THE early childhood FUND OFFER?

  • 50% uplift on funds raised by applicants (applicants must provide evidence to verify the private funding has been secured)
  • Peer to peer networking and knowledge sharing
  • Training workshops
  • Impact measurement
  • A platform for awardees to showcase their work at an awards event

FUNDING REQUIREMENTS

Successful applicants are asked to provide evidence to verify the private funding they have secured. We require a minimum of €20,000 private funding per year for a minimum period of 2 years for the Fund. A Donor Letter of Commitment should be provided in support of this application outlining the amount of funding and the duration.

Donor-Letter-of-Commitment

Download a presentation on the fund for potential donors here.

How the funding process works

  • These private 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

Early Childhood 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

€20,000

3

€60,000

€10,000

€30,000

€90,000

The Early Childhood 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 p.a (€20,000 donor funds and €10,000 SIFI uplift).

WHAT KIND OF PROJECTS IS THE Early childhood FUND LOOKING FOR?


Applicants should be able to demonstrate how they focus on improving outcomes for children from prenatal development through to six years of age through one or more of the following:

    • Improving physical and mental health and wellbeing
    • Emotional wellbeing and attachment (infant mental health)
    • Social Skills
    • Language and cognitive development

All applicants should have a strong 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.

WHAT ORGANISATIONS ARE ELIGIBLE?

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

Projects applying to the Early Childhood Fund must meet the standard SIFI and Early Childhood Fund core criteria listed below:

SOCIAL INNOVATION FUND IRELAND CORE CRITERIA

  • The project must address a critical social issue – in this case achieving better outcomes for children
  • 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 entity that has a not-for-profit legal form e.g. school, charity, trust, CLG or Higher Education Institution

Early Childhood fund CORE CRITERIA

  • Projects must focus on one or a combination of the following for children from prenatal development through to six years of age:
      • Improving physical and mental health and wellbeing
      • Emotional wellbeing and attachment (infant mental health)
      • Social Skills
      • Language and cognitive development
  • Projects must use an evidence informed approach (such as Irish and International best practice)
  • 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 focus on prevention and early intervention
  • Projects must have secured pledges to a minimum of €20,000 per year for 2 years in private donations.

Early Childhood FUND ADVANTAGEOUS CRITERIA

  • Projects supporting children and families at high risk such as (but not restricted to)
    • Families experiencing homelessness
    • Families of prisoners or ex-offenders
    • Families belonging to an ethnic minority
    • Children of parents with mental health issues
    • Children of parents with a disability (intellectual, physical or sensory)
    • Children with a disability (intellectual, physical or sensory)
    • Families experiencing socio-economic disadvantage
  • Projects that demonstrate how they will be delivered in an integrated way with other services – statutory or voluntary
  • Projects involving the development of the whole child, involving parents and taking a school-wide/community wide approach
  • Projects that focus on supporting the parents or guardians as a means to improving outcomes for their children, e.g. maternal mental health projects
  • Projects that consider the voices of children and parents in their design and implementation.

HOW LONG IS THE early childhood FUND OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS?

The Early Childhood Fund is open for applications from 3rd August 2018 until 18th January 2019 at 5pm.


HOW DO I APPLY?

The Early Childhood Fund application form is available here.

WHAT IS EXPECTED OF early childhood FUND AWARDEES?

Awardees will be expected to:

  • Complete progress reports on their activities (up to four per year)
  • Submit an annual report on project outcomes
  • Attend training workshops and showcase events
  • Participate in impact measurement training  

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How many awards will be made?

The number of the 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 which 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
  • Stage 2: Review by an expert Advisory Group
  • Stage 3: Interviews
  • Stage 4: Final due diligence on recommended candidate
  • Stage 5: Decision by Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Board


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 Education Fund 2017 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.

 

TERMS & CONDITIONS OF THE early childhood FUND

By applying for the Early Childhood 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 retain 50% of the match uplift from Government for administrative costs, project management and programme costs.
  • 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 hello@socialinnovation.ie with any questions you have on the criteria. If you have any questions about the fundraising requirement of this fund please contact Anne Dermody at anne@socialinnovation.ie