Research shows that when women and girls prosper, entire communities in Ireland succeed. That is why The Community Foundation for Ireland created a dedicated long-term thematic fund called The Women’s Fund. Established in 2010, The Women’s Fund mission is to encourage philanthropy among women, to improve the lives of women and girls through social change grant making and to educate the entire community about the benefits to wider society when the potential of women is realised.

Since 2010 The Community Foundation for Ireland has granted more than €1.5 million towards supporting organisations focused on improving the lives of women and girls.

The Women’s Fund prioritises working with smaller local and regional groups across the country to ensure a wide geographical spread of funding, while also partnering with larger national organisations such as SAFE Ireland and The National Women’s Council (NWCI) in more tactical and long-term goals. No matter the size of the grant CFI each hasa shared vision of a better Ireland for women and girls and in turn a more equal and vibrant Ireland.

Current priorities for the Women’s Fund in The Community Foundation for Ireland are the prevention of violence against women and the empowerment of women to take leadership roles in communities. In recent years CFI has focused on combatting and highlighting the work being done to eradicate sexual harassment, domestic violence and what needs to be done to bring about real change in this area. The grants that CFI chose to support are raising awareness of women’s issues while also ensuring the voices of travellers and ethnic minorities are included.

One of the flagship grantees of the Women’s Fund is SAFE Ireland, the national social change agency working on domestic violence in Ireland. Through The Community Foundation for Ireland’s own funds and through the generosity of donors CFI has contributed more than €350,000 to support SAFE Ireland in its work. Other grantees include local women’s refuges and rape crisis centres in almost every county in Ireland. As well as this, the fund has significantly supported the work of Women for Election, whose aim is to inspire and equip women to succeed in Irish politics.

The impact of these grants is continuous and as such CFI continually host shared learning events whereby grants recipients are brought together and provided a space to share, network and assess the projects that were undertaken. This is a vital stage in assuring the right steps are being taken in improving the lives of women and girls affected by domestic violence, sexual harassment and inequality.

In 2019 CFI will continue to promote the Women’s Fund and encourage more donors, funders and collaborators to partner with us in achieving a more equitable society for women and girls.