This is a €200,000 Fund created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) in partnership with Cork Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The Sustainable Cork Fund will support not-for-profit organisations to increase the sustainability of Cork’s urban and rural communities through environmental, social and economic innovations which shape a more inclusive future for all. Taking sustainability to include environmental, social and economic resilience, the Fund will support projects achieving impact in:

  1. Climate action and environmental awareness: increasing sustainability, climate change education, increasing efforts in recycling, the circular economy, green production and waste awareness, etc.
  2. Community inclusion and cohesion: generating a positive sense of belonging, particularly for marginalised and vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities, people in minority ethnic groups, etc.
  3. Sustainable employment and economic development: supporting good quality jobs for all, strengthening Cork’s business environment sustainably and increasing localised economic development


  • Awards package worth €55,000
    • Cash grants of up to €40,000
    • Business supports package worth up to €15,000
  • A place on an Accelerator Programme from January 2021 to June 2021. This programme will include growth-planning, impact measurement and communications training as well as access to Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s expertise and networks.
  • Project performance management


We are inviting applications from projects or organisations that are engaged in improving environmental, social and/or economic outcomes for people in the Cork city or county regions.


Projects must meet the criteria set by both SIFI and the Sustainable Cork Fund. These are outlined below.

Please note: Projects seeking funding for capital assets (such as buildings, vans or equipment) are not eligible.


  • The project must address a critical social or environmental issue.
  • The project proposed must be innovative in an Irish context.
  • The project must be based on the island of Ireland and must make its’ main impact in the Republic of Ireland.
  • The project must have the potential and desire to scale or replicate in Ireland (it may also have potential internationally, but this is not a requirement).
  • The project must provide evidence that it is up and running, or has been tested at least in a minimal way.
  • Applicants must come from an entity that has a ‘not for profit’ legal form e.g. charity, voluntary organisation, etc.


  • Projects focus on the environment, social inclusion and/or economic empowerment of their communities.
  • Projects that have a direct and sustained impact on the economy in Cork city or county.
  • Projects have a strong research and evidence base.


  • Projects that work with communities and groups experiencing socio-economic disadvantage or geographic isolation.
  • Projects that have outcomes in two or more of the following areas will have an advantage: environmental, social inclusion and economic empowerment.


Projects that are not eligible to apply are:

  • Research projects.
  • Projects promoting or aligned with a political party.
  • Projects that only accept participants of a particular faith or religious denomination.
  • Projects where the main impact is outside the Republic of Ireland.
  • Projects led by people under 18 years of age.
  • Projects that are an idea (only) and that have not yet started.
  • Projects that do not benefit communities in the Cork region.
  • Projects seeking funding for capital items such as buildings, vans, renovations, equipment, and etc.


  • Applicants under 18 years of age.
  • Commercial companies (the fund is only open to not-for-profit organisations such as charities, trusts, schools, or companies limited by guarantee).
  • Staff, directors and their immediate family members of Social Innovation Fund Ireland and Cork Chamber.


Complete the online application form, or download and complete the application form and return it to us via post to Amy Power, Fund Manager, Social Innovation Fund Ireland, Unit 16, Trinity Technology and Enterprise Campus, Pearse Street, Dublin by 5pm on Friday 3rd April 2020.


A team of experts will review the applications. Projects which are shortlisted will be invited to an interview to give more information about their project. Project leaders will be invited to interviews, which will take place in mid May 2020. The judges may do further checks or site visits. The awardees will be notified in September/October 2020. The Awards Ceremony and announcement will take place in Autumn 2020.


We will invite your project leader to take part in an Accelerator Programme which runs from January 2021. This programme will include:

  • mentoring
  • planning for growth
  • measuring the impact of the project
  • communications training
  • access to Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s expertise and networks

We will expect your project leader to devote at least two days a month to the programme.


How do I upload a video link to my application?

Watch our short guide to uploading video.

What should we include in the video?

Look at this sample video for ideas. The video should be 2-3 minutes and should tell us who you are, why you are applying for the grant, the problem you are trying to solve and how your solution is innovative.

Can you explain what you mean by outputs (model, impact, testing etc.)?

Click here to see our handy one-page glossary of terms, and click here to see examples of how those terms can be applied.

What can we spend the grant on?

You may only spend the grant on the project which won the award. The specific use of the grant will be agreed between you and Social Innovation Fund Ireland. Please note: you cannot use the grant to pay off debts or buy land, buildings or equipment (capital expenses).

Who will decide who wins the awards?

The final decision will be made by the Board of Social Innovation Fund Ireland.

What is the selection process?

  • Stage 1: Open call for applications (5th February 202 to 3rd April 2020)
  • Stage 2: Selection process (April to May 2020)
  • Stage 3: Interviews (May 2020)
  • Stage 4: Final checks on short-listed applicants (June 2020)
  • Stage 5: Final decision by Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Board (July 2020)

How can we find out where we are in the selection process?

We will inform applicants of whether they have been shortlisted, by telephone or email, by mid-May 2020

Interviews and Feedback

  • If you are invited to the next round of the application process, you will be asked to attend an interview which must be attended by a project representative (ideally the project leader).
  • If selected for interview, we will share the information you have provided with the judges.
  • The SIFI Board of Directors will choose the winning applications and decide the awards based on the recommendations from the panel of judges. The Directors’ decision will be final.
  • The SIFI Fund Manager may offer general verbal feedback to unsuccessful applicants who have reached the interview stage.


  • The awardees must take part in publicity about the grant. SIFI reserves the right to publish the names of organisations that are successful in their applications.


By applying for the Sustainable Cork Fund, you agree with the following:

  • You are 18 years of age or older.
  • You have given full and truthful information, both verbal and written, at all stages of the application and selection process.
  • You are eligible to apply. This means that your organisation meets the criteria for the Social Innovation Fund Ireland and the Sustainable Cork Fund, as described earlier.
  • You have the right to apply. This means that you hold the necessary rights to carry out the project.
  • By sending in your application, you accept these terms and conditions and our Privacy Statement. If you do not comply with these terms and conditions, you may be disqualified and may have to return any award granted.
  • SIFI will hold the personal details which you submitted with your application form. We will only share this information with the third parties administering the application and selection process, unless we agree otherwise with you. Please see our Privacy Statement for full details.
  • If you decline an award or if the award is taken back because you did not comply with the terms and conditions, the Directors may select an alternative awardee.

SIFI reserves the right to disqualify any entrant, to change the terms and conditions without notice, or to cancel the application process at any stage.