€5 million Innovate Together Fund reopens for applications

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Rethink Ireland are today announcing the official opening of Round 2 of their Innovate Together Fund which was established to support social innovation projects from across Ireland who are acting in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rethink Ireland’s Innovate Together Fund is being supported by Z Zurich Foundation who have pledged €500,000 to support the successful applications and help them to continue the essential work they’re currently carrying out for individuals and communities across Ireland. The fund is also supported by a commitment of €5 million from the Department of Rural and Community Development through the support of the Dormant Accounts Fund along with additional funding contributions from Medtronic, Twitter and Oakfield Trust.

Rethink Ireland pledges to raise additional significant philanthropic funds and is calling on companies, foundations, families and individuals to donate to this initiative. The main focus of the fund is to support emerging innovations that address the current and long-term social, economic and environmental challenges arising out of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Z Zurich Foundation is a private foundation, funded by the Zurich Insurance Group, and the main initiative by which the Group delivers on its global community investment strategy. Through targeting funding support models, the Foundation empowers vulnerable people within various communities to better protect themselves from risk, and to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Minister Heather Humphreys, Minister for Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands said: “It’s my pleasure to officially launch the 2nd round of the Innovate Together Fund in partnership with Rethink Ireland and the Z Zurich Foundation which will continue to help organisations across the country who contribute so much to our society. 

My department has provided €5 million via the Dormant Accounts Fund so that as many organisations as possible can get the help they need to help to continue to support those affected most by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Anthony Brennan, CEO, Zurich Ireland said: “This is a hugely proud day for Zurich in Ireland.  We have a unique and powerful opportunity thanks to the Z Zurich Foundation to deliver on our global community investment strategy and empower vulnerable Irish communities to better protect themselves from risk, and to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing world, particularly to deal with changes caused or accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through our engagement with Rethink Ireland we are confident this fund will help to create a fairer, more open and sustainable society across Ireland. Together, by embracing innovation, we can find new ways to meet today’s challenges head on with solutions that better serve and protect people across our communities.”

Terence O’Rourke, Chair, Rethink Ireland said: “With over 480 applicants to Round 1 of this fund, there is obviously a huge need for support amongst Ireland’s social innovation sector. We have been really impressed with the quality and innovation of the proposals we got from every county in Ireland.  While we’ll be able to support up to 50 of these 480 organisations thanks to this fund and its donors, we urgently need more philanthropic donations.

These projects are spread right across the country, helping to address many new social and economic needs that are a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This fund’s goal is to not only support these projects through the immediate issues and difficulties they face, but to also ensure their needs are addressed in a sustainable and long-term manner.  The size of the Round 2 fund will depend on the donations that we can secure between now and the end of August.

I know that many companies have been busy managing their own issues during COVID-19, but as the country begins to open up again, I am asking companies and individuals who are able to do so to consider donating to the Innovate Together Fund - your donation will be matched by Government.”

The Innovate Together Fund is seeking applications from projects countrywide achieving impact in the below categories:

Sustainable Ireland: Innovative solutions to make Ireland a more sustainable place including projects which work in areas of food provision, circular economy, climate action and biodiversity.

Economic Recovery: Solutions that will aid the economic recovery through reskilling the workforce, youth employability and identifying new and innovative ways of working

Community Outreach: Solutions to address the challenges COVID-19 has created on the most marginalised and vulnerable of society.

The Innovate Together Fund is open for applications now and you can learn more at Rethink Ireland.

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