Equality Fund

Our Equality Fund is now closed for applications. Please read below for more information. 


The Equality Fund is a €300,000 awards fund created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland in partnership with the Peter Kinney and Lisa Sandquist Foundation and 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.

This fund has been created with the vision of providing critical supports to social innovations that are aimed at strengthening equality while supporting some of the most marginalised and vulnerable communities in Ireland.

The Equality Fund is committed to equality for all. The initial focus of the fund is to find and back innovative projects that focus on supporting and strengthening equality for LGBTI persons, migrants, prisoners and former offenders, and persons affected by gender-based violence. 


  • A €300,000 fund shared between 3 to 4 projects (This includes cash grants of up to €70,000 per project)
  • A place on our Accelerator programme from January to June 2019. The programme, which is designed to sustain and grow your project, will be made up of bespoke supports such as mentoring, assistance with strategic planning, and expertise on maximising your impact.


The Equality Fund is open to social projects with main beneficiaries who belong to one or more of the following groups: LGBTI persons, migrants, prisoners and former offenders, and persons affected by gender-based violence.

By definition for this fund, equality can be advanced through the elevation of status, rights and opportunity; as well as through protection from discrimination and other harm on the grounds of belonging to one of the above groups.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate how their project impacts upon the lives of their beneficiaries.

Applicants must meet Social Innovation Fund Ireland standard criteria and specific criteria for the Equality Fund 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 entity that has a not-for-profit legal form e.g. company limited by guarantee, trust etc.

equality fund CRITERIA

  • Growth and mature stage projects will have an advantage. Innovative early stage projects will also be considered if supported by an established organisation.
  • Projects must be focused on supporting and enhancing equality for one or more of the following beneficiary groups;
    •  LGBTI’s
    •  Migrants
    •  Prisoners/former offenders
    •  Persons affected by gender-based violence*

*According to the UN, gender-based violence includes ”acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty”.


The Equality Fund is open for applications from Thursday 15th March 2018 –  Friday 22nd June 2018.

how DO i Apply?

Our Equality Fund is now closed for applications.


Applicants are expected to be available for interviews in Dublin between the 17th and 21st September 2018.  


Awardees will be expected to participate in an Accelerator programme from January to June 2019. It is expected a minimum of 2 days per week will be devoted to working on your awarded project.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I upload a video link to my application?

Click here for our short and sweet guide to uploading video.

What is expected of the video?

Click here to watch a sample video that John Smith prepared.

Can you explain what you mean by output (model, impact, testing etc)?

Click here to see our handy one-page glossary of terms, and click here to see examples of how those terms can be applied.

What can the Awardee spend the cash grant on?

The cash grant must be spent on the project which won the award. The specific use of the cash grant will be agreed between Social Innovation Fund Ireland and the Awardee. Cash grants may not be used to pay off debts or purchase land, buildings or equipment (capital expenses).

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: Open Call for Applications, (Thursday 15th March 2018 – Friday 22nd June 2018)
  • Stage 2: Selection process – internal and external review (May / June 2018) 
  • Stage 3:  Interviews (3rd – 7th September 2018)
  • Stage 4: Final due diligence on recommended applicants
  • Stage 5: Decision by Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Board (September/ October 2018) 

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?

  • Advocacy projects
  • Projects seeking to fund 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 

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 eg a school, charity or social enterprise. For profit entities are excluded from applying. 
  • 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 Equality Fund, all applicants have agreed to the Terms & Conditions.

  • 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 hello@socialinnovation.ie with any questions.