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Supporting frontline organisations during challenging times

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Des Green

Tina Roche

Chief Executive, The Community Foundation for Ireland

Philanthropy is playing its part in supporting communities through COVID-19.

“The very place we have all been sent for safety because of COVID-19 – home – is anything but safe for some people,” said Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, while launching a campaign to inform victims of domestic abuse of supports available to them.

While the recent awareness campaign launched by the government has been welcomed, charities in the sector remain worryingly underfunded.

The Community Foundation for Ireland started its COVID-19 Response Fund in early March to direct philanthropic support towards community and voluntary sector organisations in Ireland, such as those helping victims of domestic abuse.

We hope that philanthropy can play a role in ensuring that community groups can continue supporting all of us as we face an uncertain future.

The funds are also supporting a breadth of vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, homeless and those with respiratory issues, in the escalating COVID-19 situation.

Although the fund was commenced with some of our own grant monies, many individuals and families, corporates and other trusts and foundations have pledged their support. The total raised already exceeds €1.5 million.

Funding for vital charities

Safe Ireland say that €1.6 million is needed in emergency funding to ‘help ensure that services can respond adequately to the needs of women and children at this unique time.’

In our effort to support those most affected, Safe IrelandWomen’s Aid and Men’s Aid have all received funding from our COVID-19 Response Fund.

The COVID-19 Response Fund is also supporting frontline organisations, including Aware NI, who are running a series of online mindfulness sessions; A Lust For Life, the Irish wellbeing movement, who said: “The funding will really help us roll out our primary schools project to help strengthen the wellness of young people.”

Smashing Times Theatre Company received the same amount to “continue to provide services using creative processes to promote positive mental health in particular to support individuals and communities who are experiencing disadvantage.”

€32,500 was awarded to Foróige to create tailored care packages for children to improve their online platform and provide additional support.

€100,000 was awarded to Cystic Fibrosis Ireland; this funding went towards social and distress grants, counselling services, and advice, information and support services for all their members.

Huge deficits to the charity sector due to COVID-19

Due to the restrictions put in place, the charity sector has been mostly unable to conduct its regular fundraising activities, and this has left them with huge deficits.

We hope that philanthropy can play a role in ensuring that community groups can continue supporting all of us as we face an uncertain future.

Many people are in a position to help and we would encourage everyone to look at what they can do to support these essential services.

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