This new feature, shines a light on members of Philanthropy Ireland, their role, impact and how they are adapting to COVID-19. If you wish to spotlight your organisation please email [email protected]

The RDS Foundation has a philanthropic legacy stretching back close to three centuries, but the focus of the Royal Dublin Society has always been on the future. Since 1731, the RDS has sought to help Ireland thrive culturally and economically by finding ways to inspire future generations and help young people to fulfil their potential.

The RDS is best known as the setting for some of the country’s foremost annual events, concerts and sports fixtures. Not as many are aware that, through the work of the RDS Foundation, the money generated at these events often finds its way into the hands of gifted young people forging paths in fields as varied as the arts, agriculture, science and technology, enterprise and equestrianism.

It is across these five pillars that the RDS Foundation continues, in 2020, to touch many facets of Irish life with an active programme of bursaries, awards schemes and other support initiatives.

To highlight this reach, and the scope and diversity of its programmes, the RDS Foundation recently published its first ever Impact Report. The report details the learning, benefit and added value of RDS programmes over the last five years.

Between 2014 and 2019, close to €12.4 million has been invested in these programmes across 61 projects, 297 awards and 184 events. More than 24,000 people have attended these events and 297 awardees have received €627,000 in prize money. The RDS is based in Dublin, but, in 2019 alone, our programmes reached over 12,000 beneficiaries and participants across the 32 counties of Ireland

Publishing this report was a matter of the RDS “telling its story” from the point-of-view of the individuals our work benefits. We really wanted to capture the breadth of the work we do and the experiences of our beneficiaries.

These beneficiaries include visual artist Elaine Hoey, who was winner of the Taylor Art Award in 2016 and the R.C. Lewis-Crosby Award and Centre Culturel Irlandais Residency in 2017 as part of the RDS Visual Art Awards. In her story – she notes that “the support of the RDS, through its prestige and financial aid, has afforded me the opportunity to develop my own practice and has given me the much-needed space to create new work.”

Sarah Dalton, a teacher who participated in the RDS flagship programme, ESB Science Blast, highlighted the impact on her primary class, “Participating in ESB Science Blast had a strong impact on the children. They became independent learners, researching at home and questioning what they could do to answer their project question.”

A vision for Ireland’s sustainable economic development is shared through our Enterprise Programme.  It provides a forum for shared ideas and discussion, connecting our audiences with some of Ireland’s most important and influential thought leaders. These thought leaders have, to date, included Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland, who is among the distinguished speakers that have so far taken part in the RDS Vision 2030 Series.

These, however, represent just a fraction of the work carried out each year by the RDS Foundation.

All of this work is funded by the commercial activities of the RDS and by donations and sponsorship from RDS members, companies, trusts and foundations, state bodies and legacies. The RDS Impact Report (2015-2019) breathes life into our mission and purpose in ways that only personal testimonies can do. To read it please click here