Sports to Impact Fund

WHAT IS THE ‘sports to impact’ FUND 

The Sports 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.

We believe that when designed and applied deliberately for change, sports can have the potential to be a great equaliser for society, with the power to drive positive transformation in our lives and our communities. Through the Sports to Impact Fund, we are aiming to support the most innovative projects across the country that are using sports 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 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 sports to impact FUND OBJECTIVE

The goal of the fund is to support the innovative use of sports as a means to improve physical and mental health and to promote social inclusion for children, adolescents and adults.

We are calling out to innovative projects or programmes that focus on using sports as a means to create positive social impact in the lives of individuals and in communities across Ireland.

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

WHAT DOES THE Sports to impact 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


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.


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

Sports 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 Sports 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 p.a (€20,000 donor funds and €10,000 SIFI uplift).


Applicants should be able to demonstrate how they focus on improving physical or mental health and promote social inclusion for children, adolescents and adults through the innovative use of sports.

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.


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

Projects applying to the Sports to Impact Fund must meet the standard SIFI and Sports 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 entity that has a not-for-profit legal form e.g. school, charity, trust, CLG or Higher Education Institution

Sports to impact fund CORE CRITERIA

  • Projects must use sport as their core methodology with a view to improving physical and/or mental health for children, adolescents or adults
  • Projects must clearly demonstrate the innovative aspect of their sports programme
  • Projects must demonstrate a social inclusion approach
  • 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 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 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 approach or community


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


The Sports to Impact Fund application form is available here.


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  


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 candidates
  • 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.



By applying for the Sports 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 Anne Dermody at