SIFI: Inviting Applications for Early Childhood Fund

Deadline: 18 January 2019

The Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) in partnership with the Department of Rural and Community Development is inviting applications for “Early Childhood Fund” to support the families in Ireland who need the most help in achieving better outcomes for their children.

The Department of Rural and Community Development provides match funding for all philanthropic funds raised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland, via the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The goal of the fund is to provide critical support to projects and services focused on increasing the health and wellbeing (physical and mental), social and emotional skills, cognitive development and learning outcomes of children, from pregnancy to six years of age, with the goal of reduced inequalities, improved childhood and lifelong outcomes.

Focus Areas

They are calling out to innovative projects or programmes in Ireland that focus on improving outcomes for children from prenatal development through to six years of age through one or a combination of the following:

  • Improving physical and mental health and wellbeing
  • Emotional wellbeing and attachment (infant mental health)
  • Social Skills
  • Language and cognitive development

Funding Information

  • The Early Childhood Fund provides a total uplift to the €60,000 of €30,000 making a total fund of €90,000. This €90,000 is paid over the 3 years at €30,000 p.a (€20,000 donor funds and €10,000 SIFI uplift).

Note: Successful applicants are asked to provide evidence to verify the private funding they have secured. The fund requires a minimum of €20,000 private funding per year for a minimum period of 2 years for the Fund. A Donor Letter of Commitment should be provided in support of this application outlining the amount of funding and the duration.


  • 50% uplift on funds raised by applicants (applicants must provide evidence to verify the private funding has been secured)
  • Peer to peer networking and knowledge sharing
  • Training workshops
  • Impact measurement
  • A platform for awardees to showcase their work at an awards event

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must be over 18 years old.
  • Applications must come from an entity that has a not for profit legal form e.g. a school, charity or social enterprise. For profit entities are excluded.
  • Social Innovation Fund Ireland staff, directors and their immediate family members, are excluded from applying.
  • Projects applying to the Early Childhood Fund must meet the standard SIFI and Early Childhood Fund core criteria listed below:
    • Social Innovation Fund Ireland Core Criteria
      • The project must address a critical social issue – in this case achieving better outcomes for children
      • The project proposed must be innovative in an Irish context
      • The project must have potential and a 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
      • The project must be based on the island of Ireland and make its main impact in the Republic of Ireland
      • Applicants must come from an entity that has a not-for-profit legal form e.g. school, charity, trust, CLG or Higher Education Institution
    • Early Childhood Fund Core Criteria
      • Projects must focus on one or a combination of the following for children from prenatal development through to six years of age:
        • Improving physical and mental health and wellbeing
        • Emotional wellbeing and attachment (infant mental health)
        • Social Skills
        • Language and cognitive development
      • Projects must use an evidence informed approach (such as Irish and International best practice)
      • Projects must have a research or evaluation component, for example, it must have built in an assessment or evaluation of impact from the start
      • Projects must focus on prevention and early intervention
      • Projects must have secured pledges to a minimum of €20,000 per year for 2 years in private donations.
    • Early Childhood Fund Advantageous Criteria
      • Projects supporting children and families at high risk such as (but not restricted to)
        • Families experiencing homelessness
        • Families of prisoners or ex-offenders
        • Families belonging to an ethnic minority
        • Children of parents with mental health issues
        • Children of parents with a disability (intellectual, physical or sensory)
        • Children with a disability (intellectual, physical or sensory)
        • Families experiencing socio-economic disadvantage
      • Projects that demonstrate how they will be delivered in an integrated way with other services – statutory or voluntary
      • Projects involving the development of the whole child, involving parents and taking a school-wide/community wide approach
      • Projects that focus on supporting the parents or guardians as a means to improving outcomes for their children, e.g. maternal mental health projects
      • Projects that consider the voices of children and parents in their design and implementation.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted online via given website.

Eligible Country: Ireland

For more information, please visit Early Childhood Fund.

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