Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund


The Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund is a €1.8 million fund over three years created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland in partnership with Bank of America 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.

The Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund is the first fund in Ireland to support charities and social enterprises that seek to enhance the economic mobility of women, and is designed specifically to equip these organisations to expand their business acumen, drive growth and deepen their impact across Ireland.

We are calling for applications from organisations that support and empower women to progress their education or progress into new or more sustainable employment.


Through the Fund, we aim to achieve the following over 3 years:

1) Empower 1,000 women to find and secure sustained employment across Ireland by investing in organisations that provide training, upskilling, education and other services directly to women experiencing disadvantage.

2) Double the impact of successful applicants by providing growth capital and support to organisations with a proven track record of social impact.


  • Cash grants between €50,000 – €100,000 per year for three years
  • A bespoke business supports package designed to equip not for profit organisations to expand their business acumen, drive growth and deepen their impact
  • A place on Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Accelerator programme which provides training from best-in-class experts across the private, not for profit and public sectors
  • Performance management & impact management
  • Access to Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s networks
  • Access to training and mentoring from Bank of America’s employees 


What kind of projects is the fund looking for?

All applicants to Social Innovation Fund Ireland must meet a set of standard criteria as listed below. All applicants to the Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund must meet the minimum fund criteria which is also listed below.

Note: as part of Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s standard eligibility requirements, applicants seeking funding for capital assets are not eligible.


  • The project must address a critical social issue
  • The project 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 have a proven track record
  • 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.

Mná na héireann, Women of Ireland FUND’s core CRITERIA

  • Projects that focus on women who are experiencing disadvantage (socio-economic, educational disadvantage, disability, members of minority group and other)
  • Projects that focus on developing economic mobility for women in Ireland experiencing disadvantage through:
    • Increasing access to job opportunities
    • Increasing female labour force participation
    • Assisting women to progress their current positions
    • Workforce development – building employment-related skills that lead to employment (includes soft skills)
    • Projects that have evidence of sustained impact
  • Organisations or projects with strong financial and governance structures, with the ability and resources to handle multi-year funding
  • Organisations or projects with a viable fundraising model that can maximise and leverage grant funding
  • Organisations or projects that have demonstrated strong leadership

Mná na héireann, Women of Ireland fund’s ADVANTAGEOUS CRITERIA

  • Organisations and their projects with a sustainable future business model
  • Organisations and their projects demonstrating a gender-balanced board
  • Organisations and their projects with a developed network and pipeline of participants
  • Organisations and their projects that will participate in helping to tell the narrative of advanced economic mobility in Ireland

hOW lONG is the fund open for applications?

The Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund is open for applications from 18th February 2019 – 18th April 2019 at 5pm.

hOW Do i apply?

This Fund is no longer open for applications. 

WHAT IS EXpected of Awardees?

Awardees will be expected to participate in an Accelerator programme from September 2019 to June 2022. It is expected that a minimum of 2 days per month will be devoted to the programme by the project lead.

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 prepared by John Smith.

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. The Board holds the right to decide the number and value of awards. 

What is the selection process?

  • Stage 1: Open Call for Applications (18th February 2019 – 18th April 2019)
  • Stage 2: Selection process internal and external review (May 2019)
  • Stage 3: Interviews (27th May – 7th June 2019)
  • Stage 4: Final due diligence on recommended applicants (June/July)
  • Stage 5: Decision by Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Board (July 2019)

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 e.g a school, charity or Company Limited by Guarantee. For profit entities are excluded from applying.
  • Social Innovation Fund Ireland and Bank of America staff, directors and their immediate family members*, are excluded from applying.

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

Can Social Innovation Fund Ireland Awardees apply to the Mná na hÉireann Fund?

Social Innovation Fund Ireland Awardees are eligible to apply to this fund but must note that: 

  • The same project cannot take part in two Accelerator programmes at once
  • The same project cannot take part in a Game-changer and Accelerator programme at once
  • Projects which have already taken part in an Accelerator / Game-changer programme must be able to demonstrate how another programme will add value to their project / organisation
  • Previous Awardees must have spent their full grant before any further applications can be considered 

Terms & conditions of the mná na héireann, women of ireland fund

By applying for the Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund all applicants have agreed to the Terms & Conditions as outlined below.

  • 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.