Established in 1979, the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland is an independent grant-making organisation, who aims to drive social change and build peace.
Where is the money from?
The foundation manages grant making on behalf of others including Santander, Comic Relief, and Big Lottery.
What funds are available?
The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland fund awarded £1.2 million in grants over the last year to groups and individuals who are seeking to make a positive change to their lives.
They have three strands of funding, each hosting a range of programmes:
1. Thematic Funds
Individual bursaries for women to help them overcome barriers to fulfilling their potential.
Split into three priorities, the Older People’s Fund offers grants of up to £10,000, to organisations run by and for older people for Policy, Advocacy, and Campaigning, Independent Living, and Training.
A £10 million fund which has been allocated to 4 key organisations who are realising the vision of the Good Friday Agreement
Aimed at tackling social and economic imbalances in Derry-Londonderry, through the Small Legacy Grants and Inspire Business, and the Acorn Fund Giving Circle.
2. Individual/Families or In Memory Funds
The Foundation currently manages 11 such funding streams, providing support for young people, mental health programmes, prisoner rehabilitation and many more. See the website for full details.
The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland manages several funds, set up by companies such as Nationwide, Brockaghboy Wind Farm, Gaelectric, Capital Dynamics, Energia Renewables, and BT to support community groups who are delivering projects that enrich peoples lives in certain geographical areas. Full details are on the website.
The foundation also manages other funds, including:
Providing grants of up to £500 to groups without a formal governance structure, who are supporting social change through direct civic action, lobbying, and engagement.
Providing grants of up to £2,000 to registered charities, constituted voluntary groups, and community groups in the region covered by the Wesleyan Assurance network.
This funding programme provides grants of up to £1,000 to voluntary groups, with a simple application form. You don’t need a constitution to apply.
Who qualifies for the funds?
Each programme has different eligibility criteria, however for many you don’t need to be registered with the Charity Commission of Northern Ireland to access funding.
What types of projects work best?
Check the individual programmes for the funding criteria, and ensure your project delivers on the objectives of that stream.
How can I apply and when?
Visit the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s website for details on which programmes are accepting applications.
Thomas’ 3 Top Tips for Applying
The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s overall objective is to address the challenges of peace-building, community development, and social justice.
They encourage you to speak to them before you apply. Check their FAQs for assistance.
As with any funding body, you must be able to demonstrate that you have a solid idea that is aligned with their objective, and that you can deliver it.
- Check your eligibility
The eligibility criteria for funding from the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland very depending on the grant funder, so it is critical you check the rules for the grant you wish to access.
Before you invest any time in documenting your proposal and completing the application, identify which grant suits your project and read the guides provided.
- Have a clear proposal
As with any successful application, you must clearly identify the following:
- What is the problem/issue/situation, how you know it exists, and who is it affecting?
- What is the aim of your project, how will you deliver it, how much will it cost, and what will a successful outcome look like?
- How will you track the progress of the project and evaluate its success?
- Check the details
Ensure you have supplied all the documentation required and the application is written using simple language and free from errors.
Ask someone else to review the proposal as your own mistakes are harder to spot, preferably someone who is unfamiliar with your organisation or project to make sure you’re getting the message across clearly.