Our Education Fund

Minister Richard Bruton T.D., officially launches Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Education Fund  

Minister Bruton T.D., with CEO of Social Innovation Fund Ireland at Education Fund launch
Minister Bruton T.D., officially launches Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Education Fund pictured here with Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Social Innovation Fund Ireland.

 

What is Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Education Fund?

Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Education Fund is open to projects that are focused on improving educational outcomes (at QQI Level 6 or higher from the National Framework of Qualifications) for those experiencing educational disadvantage. Projects are likely to focus on students at the upper end of second level or starting higher education (QQI Level 3-6).  Educational disadvantage that arises from living in a disadvantaged area, socio-economic disadvantage, experiencing mental health or other health issues, or disability are all relevant to this Fund.

students reach for stars at Education Fund's launch
Students reach for the Stars at Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Education Fund

 

Why Educational Disadvantage?

Education and related qualifications determine to a large extent the life chances of people. Those who leave education without qualifications are hindered in their ability to find well-paying jobs and as a result are more at risk of poverty. The number of people with educational disadvantage achieving accreditations to QQI level 6, or higher, is disproportionately low when compared with the national norm, despite many government and other initiatives to combat this. Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s goal via the Education Fund is to improve access to 3rd level education (QQI Level 6 & above) for students affected by disability or disadvantage, through improved educational attainment.

What does the Education Fund offer?

Social Innovation Fund Ireland believes that there are many innovative local projects that tackle educational disadvantage but which fail to grow and spread. With this in mind the education fund aims to address this by:

  • Providing funding to organisations who can provide evidence of having secured match private or philanthropic funding for the duration of the proposed project  (Minimum €10,000)
  • Convene the best projects together annually to share learnings
  • Provide projects with the opportunity to participate in a cluster evaluation
  • Provide projects with a platform to showcase their work at a closing event.

What Kind of project is the Education Fund looking for?

Applicants should be able to demonstrate how their project will improve educational attainment for those experiencing educational disadvantage.

Applicant projects should also be able to demonstrate that they have secured private or philanthropic funding for the period proposed, and that the programme cannot be carried out without the matching funding of SIFI. Please note that SIFI will retain a percentage of the matching funding for administrative costs.

ELIGIBLE PROJECTS WILL BE ABLE TO DEMONSTRATE

Applicants must meet Social Innovation Fund Ireland standard criteria and specific criteria for the Education Fund, set out below.

Social Innovation Fund Ireland standard criteria

  • The project must address a critical social issue – in this case educational disadvantage
  • The solution proposed must be innovative in an Irish context.
  • The solution 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 solution must provide evidence that it is up and running, or have been tested at least in a minimal way.
  • That it is based on the island of Ireland and will 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, social enterprise or higher education institutes. 

Education  Fund Specific Criteria

  • Applicants should be projects that are focused at second level education and/or entry stage of higher level education
  • The project must be able to demonstrate that it has secured private or philanthropic funding, of at least €10,000 per year, for the period of its proposed project, and that the programme cannot be carried out without the matching funding of Social Innovation Fund Ireland
  • The project will be able to demonstrate improved educational attainment leading to better educational outcomes.

Selection Criteria – Preferred projects will also demonstrate

  • A Programme with a research & evaluation component, especially a link to a University or a QQI Level 6 accredited institution
  • Projects with a proposed 3-5 year duration with funding secured for the proposed timeframe
  • Projects that seek to address gaps in numeracy or literacy or those that extend beyond the standard Curriculum – through Arts, 21st Century skills etc 
  • Those that employ a holistic approach – whole school, community and/or parental involvement
  • Proposals that include attainable and measurable targets and outcomes (short term and medium term goals) in relation to educational attainment and that drive towards improved access to or retention at 3rd level (QQI Level 6 & above).

Who can apply?

The Education Fund will accept applications from

  • Not for Profits
  • Charities
  • Schools
  • Higher Education Institutes

HOW LONG IS THE EDUCATION FUND OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS?

Social Innovation Fund Ireland is open for applications from  November 2016 until 24th February 2017.

 

HOW DO I APPLY?

The Education Fund application form is available on its dedicated page here.

 

WHAT IS EXPECTED OF CANDIDATES?

Candidates are expected to be available for interviews in March 2017.

 

WHAT IS EXPECTED OF EDUCATION FUND AWARDEES

Awardees will be expected to:

  • Complete progress reports on their activities (two per year)
  • Submit an annual report on educational attainment outcomes
  • Attend an annual convening to share learning
  • Participate in an external evaluation 
  • Submit financial reports annually. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 What exactly does the Education Fund offer?

  • Funding to organisations who can provide evidence of having secured match funding for the duration of the proposed project  
  • The opportunity to attend an  annual convening  to share learnings
  • The opportunity to participate in a cluster evaluation
  • A platform to showcase their work.

 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 land or buildings.

Who will decide who wins the Awards?

Final decisions are made by the Board of Social Innovation Fund Ireland.  Applications will have previously been reviewed by our Expert Education Advisory Group, chaired by Professor Aine Hyland. 

Click on the images below to read the biography of our Education Advisory Committee. 

What is the selection process?

  • Stage 1: Call for Applications  November 2016 –  24 February 2017
  • Stage 2: Review by an Expert Education Advisory Panel
  • Stage 3: Interviews (tbc)
  • Stage 4: Final due diligence on recommended candidates
  • Stage 5: Decision by Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Board
  • Stage 6: Announce Winners

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 funds for Scholarships
  • Projects seeking funding for capital items – buildings, vans, etc.
  • Research projects
  • Party political projects
  • Projects that screen beneficiaries in or out by faith or religious denomination
  • Projects where the main impact is outside Republic of Ireland
  • Projects that are an idea (only) and that have not yet started
  • Projects that are focused on educational attainment pre QQI level 6.

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. school, charity, or social enterprise.
  • Social Innovation Fund Ireland staff, Directors and their family members* are excluded from applying.

*Immediate family members include sibling, parent, spouse or civil partner or child. 

How does the matching funding work? 

  • Successful Applicants are asked to provide evidence to verify the private funding they have secured. Example Donor letter of Commitment 
  • These private funds are paid to Social Innovation Fund Ireland annually
  • Social Innovation Fund Ireland provides evidence of paid donor funds and committed donor funds to Government
  • Government releases matching funding to Social Innovation Fund Ireland
  • Following this, Social Innovation Fund Ireland makes matching grants to successful applicants 
  • Please note that Social Innovation Fund Ireland will deduct up to 25% from the total fund to fund Education Fund costs including evaluations, selection and project management, event costs etc.

For example: Applicant has raised €60,000 in private funds over 3 years (€20,000 per year). Their donors pay these funds to Social Innovation Fund Ireland annually. Social Innovation Fund Ireland secures matching funds of €20,000 per annum from Government. Social Innovation Fund Ireland retains up to 25% of the total funds (ie. €10,000) and pays a grant of €30,000 per annum to the applicant for the project: €20,000 donor funds plus €10,000 matching funds. 

 TERMS & CONDITIONS OF THE EDUCATION FUND 

By applying for the Education 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: aisling@socialinnovation.ie with any questions.