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Reconciliation Fund

The Reconciliation Fund awards grants to organisations working to build better relations within and between traditions in Northern Ireland, between North and South, and between Ireland and Britain.

The Reconciliation Fund operates two main funding rounds each year (in spring and autumn) for 12-month grants.  A Strategic Partnerships stream for 3-year funding was also launched in May 2021.

New Reconciliation Fund Strategy 2021-2024

Following extensive engagement with our funding partners and others working in the field of peace and reconciliation, a new Reconciliation Fund Strategy was approved by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in order to guide the work of the Reconciliation Fund during the period 2021-2024.  While the new strategy has still to be formally launched by the Minister (when the easing of Covid-19 restrictions permits), it has already come into effect since 15 March 2021.

The strategy outlines an updated set of funding priorities and criteria for the Reconciliation Fund, to ensure that the Fund supports our vision of a reconciled Ireland and remains relevant, effective, and efficient over the coming years. A summary of these funding priorities and criteria can be found in the Am I Eligible? tab below. Potential applicants should also consult the new Strategy document itself.   

As well as setting out overarching themes and priority areas, the new Strategy outlines how the Reconciliation Fund can provide, in addition to direct project funding, Core Operational and Capital funding to support the important work of peace and reconciliation.

Strategic Partnerships (multi-annual funding)

The new Strategy provides for the expansion of the Strategic Partnership multi-annual funding stream that had been piloted under the Reconciliation Fund’s previous Strategy. Under the new funding stream, around 15-30 organisations will be eligible to become a Strategic Partner of the Fund, with a commitment to funding  over a 3-year period, allowing them to develop a more strategic long term approach to planning their work.    

The first call for applications for Strategic Partnership under this new scheme was made during May-June 2021 and organisations that had previously been awarded a grant from the Reconciliation Fund in the period since 1 January 2018 were eligible to apply.  Further information and the latest indicative timeline for the rollout of this scheme is provided in the dedicated Strategic Partnerships section on this webpage.

Autumn 2021 Funding Round (for 12-month funding)

The autumn funding round will open on Thursday 9 September 2021 at 10.00am. The round will remain open for 3 weeks, closing on Thursday 30 September 2021.

Further information on the requirements under this round are set out in the How to Apply tab below.

**IMPORTANT NOTICE – for Strategic Partnership applicants**

We appreciate that there may be organisations who would normally have intended to apply for 12-month funding in our regular autumn round but are uncertain about how to proceed while they await news on the status of their existing applications under our Strategic Partnerships process.  We will provide separate advice to those organisations directly by email before the autumn round opens on 9 September.  

COVID-19  

The Department of Foreign Affairs appreciates that the organisations we support through the Reconciliation Fund have been facing many new challenges as a result of Covid-19 and that their capacity to deliver certain projects and events has been adversely affected by the public health restrictions required to manage the pandemic.

We know that it has not been possible to complete certain projects within the original 12-month timeframe and that many grants are only partly spent as a result.  We hope that with the roll-out of national vaccination programmes, this situation will continue to improve during the remainder of 2021 and into 2022 and that the pace and manner of delivery of much of the peace and reconciliation work we support will see a gradual return to pre-pandemic norms. 

This will of course take time, and in the interim, we will continue to be as flexible as possible with organisations regarding previously issued grants and ongoing projects.

We ask organisations (whether funded in our spring 2021 round or earlier) to keep us updated in relation to the impact of Covid-19 on those ongoing projects.  If you find that it will not be possible to deliver some or all planned project activities as originally proposed and within the normal 12-month period from initial receipt of the grant, you should email the Reconciliation Fund team.  We will consider all reasonable requests for extensions and/or adaptations to projects and related readjustments to approved budget lines. We remain committed to supporting organisations to allow them to deliver their projects in a timely and safe manner.

We will be monitoring developments and updating this information when necessary, so please continue to check this webpage.

We give funding to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community groups, and voluntary organisations to support reconciliation and to create better understanding between people and traditions on the island of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain.

All applications to the Reconciliation Fund are assessed using the criteria laid out in the Reconciliation Fund’s Strategy 2021-2024. It is important when considering your eligibility for the fund that you look at this document and reflect on whether your project meets the aims laid out in it. The Reconciliation Fund supports many unique, diverse and important projects which all have a unifying thread – they all aim to play a part in creating a better relationship and understanding between traditions on the island of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain. The Reconciliation Fund can support many aspects of proposed projects, including core and capital costs (see further information under How to Apply tab). 

Background of the Reconciliation Fund

The Reconciliation Fund has been running since 1982, and was increased significantly in 1998, following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Department of Foreign Affairs operated an Anti-Sectarianism Fund in addition to the Reconciliation Fund in the period 2008-2014. Since 2014, in accordance with the Reconciliation Fund Strategy, the two funds have been merged into a single Reconciliation Fund. Anti-sectarianism is now mainstreamed throughout the entire programme and is one of a number of priority areas to be addressed by the Fund.

The last number of years has seen an increased commitment by the Government to supporting the Reconciliation Fund. In May 2018, it was announced that the annual budget for the Reconciliation Fund would be increased from €2.7 million to €3.7 million, and as part of its commitments set out under Annex B of the January 2020 “New Decade, New Approach” agreement, the Government renewed its commitment to maintaining this increased level of funding. Since then, reflecting in particular the wide-ranging implications of Brexit and the impact of Covid-19 on community and voluntary sector organisations working in peacebuilding, the Government has committed to further increasing the Reconciliation Fund’s budget.

In line with our new Strategy for 2021-2024, on this tab you will find below guidance on the eligibility criteria which we will apply to applications for Reconciliation Fund support in our autumn 2021 funding round (which will accept applications for 12-month funding). 

 

Eligibility - Our Funding Priorities:

The following sets out our funding priorities, in line with our new Reconciliation Fund Strategy:

Thematic Pillars

Our funding priorities continue to be rooted in two key overarching thematic pillars – repairing and building.  For 2021-2024, the Reconciliation Fund will focus its support on reconciliation and peacebuilding work that seeks to:

  • Repair those issues which lead to division, conflict, and barriers to a deeply reconciled and peaceful society;

                                                      and/or

  • Build a strong civil society that encompasses all communities, through the continued implementation of the Agreements and promoting a rights-based society, political stability and respect for all.

Priority areas

Applications should be in line with one or both of these overarching pillars, while also focusing on one or more of the Reconciliation Fund’s priority themes/activities.  Requests for funding support should therefore involve projects which support at least one of the following priority areas:

 

  • Through dialogue or other means, seek to build understanding between peoples and traditions, whether within Northern Ireland, on a North-South basis, or on a British-Irish basis.
  • Promote inter-community links and reduce segregation in Northern Ireland, including in the areas of integrated education and housing, and the use of shared community spaces.
  • Build sustainable North-South links through the development of relationships and connections.
  • Develop and deepen relations between Ireland and Britain.
  • Seek participation in the most hard-to-reach and marginalised communities (in terms of economic and social deprivation), or those not normally involved in reconciliation and peace-building work, in line with the Government’s commitments made at the time of the NDNA Agreement.
  • Seek to address the legacy of violence during the Troubles.
  • Specifically target sectarianism, and which are aimed at eliminating sectarianism from society.
  • Help to tackle paramilitarism and support the transitioning of members of paramilitary groups to peaceful, democratic activities.
  • Employ a transgenerational approach, helping a younger generation to be more aware of the recent past and to break the cycles which are barriers to long term reconciliation.
  • Develop the role of women in peace-building and civic and political life, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1325, and which build their capacity to take their rightful place as leaders in society.
  • Educate and illuminate the events of the past, and in particular the events of the Decade of Centenaries, in order to deepen understanding and promote respect and tolerance between different groups and traditions. 
  • Explore issues around identity (including language and other cultural traditions) in ways that promote understanding, tolerance and inclusivity, or help to recognise the common aspects of traditions and identities shared by different groups.
  • Involve academic research likely to significantly promote mutual understanding, peace and reconciliation, including in the context of the Government’s commitment at the time of the NDNA Agreement to commission research on the challenges faced by border communities (with a particular focus on minority communities in border counties).
  • Empower diverse, underrepresented or new voices to articulate their views on issues relating to reconciliation.
  • Assist communities from different traditions in trying to build a shared vision of the future.

 

Other factors guiding consideration of applications

In addition to assessing whether applications contribute under the thematic pillars and key priority/activity areas outlined above, we will be guided by a number of other factors in considering funding applications:

 

General factors:

General factors which will be used in assessing applications will include:

  • Geographical location of activity, with the aim of ensuring an appropriate spread of funding;
  • Value for money of the project;
  • The organisation’s financial management capacity, governance arrangements and sustainability;
  • The funding environment for the particular sector.

 

Methodology:

The Reconciliation Fund welcomes applications that propose new and innovative approaches, as well as those that use methods rooted in current practice. We also welcome applications that use any of a wide number of approaches to bring people from different backgrounds together (e.g. arts, culture, sports, skills development, dialogue) exploring how society can address issues of common concern to all.

In the case of more sectorally based projects (sports, community services, skills development e.g. for employability etc.), in terms of eligibility for funding, it is not sufficient to have groups come together on a cross-community and/or cross border basis. There must be a project component that allows for facilitated focus on broader issues that are relevant to reconciliation.  The intention would be to encourage participants to engage with each other and listen to each other’s perspectives/narratives, to stimulate reflection and discussion, to promote understanding and tolerance and ultimately to help develop links and relationships.

For example, in the case of sports related applications, while it would have merit in its own right to bring groups together to receive coaching and/or play matches/tournaments, there would need to be a further dimension to the project as outlined above.  One possible approach would be to incorporate into the project facilitated sessions that would explore any/all of the following: i) issues of culture/identity (including those associated with particular sports), ii) experiences of sectarianism, iii) participants’ levels of practical knowledge/understanding of lived experiences of those from other traditions etc.    

 

Support for new generations of practitioners:

We recognise that Reconciliation cannot be achieved without a sufficient cohort of dedicated well-trained practitioners who can carry on into the future the vital work of many who have dedicated themselves to peace and reconciliation since the very difficult years prior to the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. 

In order to support the emergence of a new generation of people working to build peace and reconciliation, we will therefore consider applications that seek to  provide young adults working in the sector with the skills and knowledge which will help them to play an active role in that work.

 

Capacity-building for organisations:

We recognise that there is a wide spectrum of groups of different sizes and capacities working in reconciliation.  The Reconciliation Fund is open to supporting organisations to build up their own capacity where the organisation can show an identified need while also demonstrating that it has strong potential to carry out useful work in line with our priorities. 

 

Potential for transmission of learning:

The potential for projects to produce learning which is useful both to project organisers themselves and to others working in the sector is important. Both the Reconciliation Fund and the organisations we support have a role to play in ensuring that learning from their projects is shared, so we particularly welcome funding proposals which include structured plans for achieving this.

 

 

General guidance

The Reconciliation Fund awards grants to organisations working to build better relations within and between traditions in Northern Ireland, between North and South, and between Ireland and Britain.  Prospective applicants are advised to study the Reconciliation Fund Strategy 2021-2024 and the previous Am I Eligible tab on this webpage to ensure that their funding proposals are aligned with the criteria and key priorities of the Fund. 

Grants awarded by the Reconciliation Fund are made on a once-off basis to support the activities outlined in a given application, but organisations may apply for funding in successive years or funding rounds. This may include work programmes that expand or further develop an earlier project already carried out by the organisation.

Two general funding rounds (for 12-month funding) are held each year, usually in spring and autumn.  

In 2021, we also launched a new Strategic Partnerships application process, under which previous recipients of Reconciliation Fund support are eligible to be awarded a commitment to 3-year grant funding.  More information is available on the dedicated Strategic Partnerships tab on this webpage.

Autumn 2021 Funding Round (for 12-month funding) - timing

The autumn funding round will open via our online application portal on Thursday 9 September 2021 at 10.00 am. The funding round will remain open for 3 weeks, closing on Thursday 30 September 2021. The link to the online application system can be found here.

NOTE: Any application submitted before the opening time of 10.00 am on Thursday 9 September will be regarded as invalid and will not be accepted.

Autumn 2021 Funding Round - what I can apply for

In the general spring and autumn funding rounds, grants are awarded for a 12-month period and can cover the direct cost of Project activities, Core Operational costs, or Capital costs.

Support for Project activities can cover a range of costs e.g. venue hire, catering, preparation of resources/materials, facilitation fees, travel costs for participants, etc.     

Applications for project funding may also include a request for support for Core Operational costs, such as salaries and overheads, and Capital costs, where they are directly attributable to the project or programme for which funding is sought e.g. where salary costs are incurred for the purpose of managing/coordinating/administering the project or rent/heat/light/phone charges etc. are incurred in order to deliver it.

We will also accept stand-alone applications for either Core Operational or Capital costs where they are not directly attributable to a particular project.  In those cases, it should be clearly demonstrated in the application form that a primary focus of the organisation’s work (and of the costs in question) is to further the work of peacebuilding and reconciliation in line with the objectives of the Reconciliation Fund Strategy.

We do not generally give grants for events/activities that have already taken place, or for travel off the island of Ireland. However, in certain circumstances, we will consider supporting the cost of travel to and from Britain, where such travel is deemed essential for the successful implementation of the project.

Autumn 2021 Funding Round  - Online application system

For those considering applying in this autumn 2021 funding round, a user guide is available to assist with using our online application system. This guide includes (in its appendix) details of the questions which applicants are required to complete during the registration and application stages of the process.

Applicants are recommended to consult the user guide before starting to use the online system and to have it to hand as they complete the online application process, step by step.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is also available to assist applicants.

If you have any questions about the online applications process, please consult the user guide and the Frequently Asked Questions documents first. If they do not provide an answer, please feel free to contact a member of our team by email through the link at the bottom of this page or by calling the Department of Foreign Affairs switchboard on 00353 (1) 4082000 and asking for Reconciliation Section in the IUKA Division.

Additional Documentation required with online applications

Please note that certain documents must be uploaded along with the online application, as follows:

Applicant organisation's Most Recent Accounts

All applicants are required to provide a copy of their organisation’s most recent annual final accounts/financial statements, or (if your organisation is newly formed), a declaration of no income/expenditure signed by the Treasurer and another Board or Committee member (on headed official paper if available), along with evidence of a bank account, e.g. copies of a bank statement.

Tax Clearance Certificate for the organisation

If you are applying for a grant of €10,000 or more (or if your request, combined with any Reconciliation Fund grants already approved for your organisation within the current calendar year, amount to €10,000 or more) you are required to provide a valid Tax Clearance Certificate. A Tax Clearance Certificate is issued by the Irish Revenue Commissioners and is required to process a payment from any Irish Government Department, regardless of where in the world the payee is located. Obtaining a resident or non-resident tax clearance certificate is a very straightforward process which can be completed by email. Details on how to obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate can be found online through the Revenue Commissioners’ website: http://www.revenue.ie/en/business/running/tax-clearance.html. The Revenue Commissioners will issue a tax clearance certificate, and it is this certificate which should be submitted with your online funding application.

 

Autumn 2021 Funding Round - Covid-19 guidance for applicants 

The Department of Foreign Affairs appreciates that the organisations we support through the Reconciliation Fund have been facing many new challenges as a result of Covid-19 and that their capacity to deliver certain projects and events has been adversely affected by the public health restrictions and guidance required to manage the pandemic.

We have  encouraged, in recent funding rounds, innovative approaches that seek to allow for delivery of projects in a manner that is effective but also protects the health and safety of all involved in line with any public health restrictions/guidance that apply in the relevant jurisdiction at that time. 

It is hoped that the ongoing roll-out of vaccination programmes will lead to increasing normalisation in society and with that, decreasing impact from the pandemic on the work of peacebuilding and reconciliation.  However, we recognise that some uncertainties remain and that there will be a period of adjustment as we all work to emerge successfully from this very difficult chapter. 

For now, we therefore ask that, where appropriate, organisations continue to give consideration to the potential impact of Covid-19 when preparing applications under this funding round.  Any necessary mitigations or contingency planning should be clearly reflected in the relevant sections of the application.   

 

Application Check List

Before beginning your application to the Reconciliation Fund, it is important to check that you have the following (where applicable) to hand:

  • The organisation’s most recent annual accounts/financial statements (for further information, see above).

 

  • If you are applying for a grant of €10,000 or more, a Tax clearance certificate (for further information see above).

 

  • The names and job titles of members of the organisation’s board.

 

  • Details in relation to your organisation – its aims, objectives, governance arrangements, the background of those who participate in and avail of its programmes, financial information including a strategy for financial sustainability.

 

  • A well laid out and detailed project plan that meets the aims set out in the Reconciliation Fund Strategy document and explicitly states how it will fulfil these aims.  

 

  • A detailed Project Budget that accounts for all money requested in the application, corresponds with the details laid out in the Project Activities section of the application and demonstrates clearly how and on what that money would be spent.  If the layout of the Project Budget tab on the online system does not allow you to submit a sufficiently detailed breakdown of the budget, you can use the ‘Attachments’ tab of the system to upload a more detailed supplementary table/spreadsheet. 

Reports

You must submit a report to us once the project has been completed or within 12 months of the date of receipt of the grant (whichever is the earlier date).

Reports should be submitted by email directly to the Reconciliation Fund team through your regular point of contact or via reconciliation@dfa.ie.

You should use our reporting template when preparing reports. Please note that some applicants have reported difficulties opening the template directly from our link (see below). This problem arises when particular internet browsers are used on an applicant's computer/device and it can easily be solved by following the simple instructions below.

Right click on this link to the reporting template and save a copy of the file to your computer (usually by clicking "Save Target As" or similar). When you open this file directly from your computer, it should open automatically with Adobe Acrobat and you should not have any further problems

 

Financial Accounts

You are required to submit along with the final project report,  the annual final accounts for the organisation. The relevant accounts are those for the financial year in which you received payment of the grant from the Reconcilation Fund.  Our grant must be clearly listed as a separate entry in those accounts, labelled as: Department of Foreign Affairs– Reconciliation Fund.

If the grant is over €12,500, the organisation’s accounts must be externally audited.

Failure to submit reports and accounts in a timely manner may impede your organisation’s ability to receive future support from the Reconciliation Fund.

2020

Download the full list of grants awarded in 2020 under Tranche 1 of the Reconciliation Fund 2020.

 

2019

Download the full list of grants awarded in 2019 under Tranche 1 of the Reconciliation Fund 2019 and Tranche 2 of the Reconciliation Fund 2019.

 

2018

Download the full list of grants awarded in 2018 under Tranche 1 of the Reconciliation Fund 2018 and Tranche 2 of the Reconciliation Fund 2018.

2017

Download the full list of grants awarded in 2017 under Tranche 1 of the Reconciliation Fund and under Tranche 2 of the Reconciliation Fund.

2016

Download the full list of grants awarded in 2016 under Tranche 1 of the Reconciliation Fund and Tranche 2 of the Reconciliation Fund. Also available is the press release accompanying the Minister’s announcement of this Tranche 1 of funding.

2015

Download the full list of grants awarded in 2015 under Tranche 1 and under the Strategic Partnership scheme of the Reconciliation Fund, and under Tranche 2 of the Reconciliation Fund.

2014

Download lists of the grants awarded in 2014 under Tranche 1 of both the Reconciliation Fund and Anti-Sectarianism Fund, and under Tranche 2 of the Reconciliation Fund

2013

Download lists of the grants awarded under the Reconciliation Fund and Anti-Sectarianism Fund in 2013.

2012

Download lists of the grants awarded under the Reconciliation Fund and Anti-Sectarianism Fund in 2012.

 

 

    

Strategic Partnerships

In May 2021, the Reconciliation Fund launched a new Strategic Partnerships scheme.  

This scheme has provided recent Reconciliation Fund partners with an opportunity to apply for multi-year funding, and reflects the Fund’s commitment, set out in the new Reconciliation Fund Strategy for 2021-2024, to partner with organisations seeking to develop a more strategic long term approach to reconciliation work.

The scheme closed to applications on 11th June 2021.  Updated information on the timeline for the application process can be found below in the relevant tab.

The Reconciliation Fund awards grants to organisations working to build better relations within and between traditions in Northern Ireland, between North and South, and between Ireland and Britain.  Applicants are advised to study the Reconciliation Fund Strategy 2021-2024 to ensure that their funding proposals are aligned with the criteria and key priorities of the Fund. 

Our funding priorities continue to be rooted in two key overarching thematic pillars – repairing and building.  For 2021-2024, the Reconciliation Fund will focus its support on reconciliation and peacebuilding work that seeks to:

  • Repair those issues which lead to division, conflict, and barriers to a deeply reconciled and peaceful society;

and/or

  • Build a strong civil society that encompasses all communities, through the continued implementation of the Agreements and promoting a rights-based society, political stability and respect for all.

The following eligibility criteria must be met under the Strategic Partnership scheme:

  • The proposed programme should correspond closely to the priority themes set out in the Reconciliation Fund Strategy 2021 -2024.
  • Applicants should have been a recipient of a Reconciliation Fund grant in the period since 1 January 2018.

Successful applications under the Strategic Partnerships scheme will also need to:

  • Demonstrate clear strategic thinking, including a robust analysis of the context and logic of the intervention, a detailed plan of activity across the entire three year period of the grant, and outline the programme’s potential to effect lasting change.
  • Provide evidence that the applicant has sufficiently robust financial management, governance, audit and reporting systems in place to monitor and report on funding provided.
  • Outline the cost effectiveness of the proposed programme.

Consideration may also be given to the geographic spread of programming, and the potential for programmes to generate useful learning that could inform advocacy on reconciliation issues or further programming.

Grants made under the Strategic Partnerships scheme will be approved in principle for a period of up to three years. The grant will be disbursed in annual payments following the provision of satisfactory interim reporting from organisations.

Funding under the Strategic Partnerships scheme is available to cover both direct project activities as well as core operational costs, such as salaries and overheads.

Grants under the Strategic Partnerships scheme are not envisaged to finance large-scale capital expenditure. However, a modest contribution to capital costs may be considered where these costs are attributable to the delivery of a wider multi-year programme (e.g. for the development of a shared space in which cross community and/or cross border peacebuilding and reconciliation work will take place under a developed plan/strategy).

Strong frameworks for measuring results and evaluating the impact of programmes should be a feature of a strategic partnerships application. To assist partner organisations in achieving this, the Fund will allow applicants to include costs related to programme monitoring and evaluation within their grant applications.

The Reconciliation Fund does not generally give grants for events/activities that have already taken place, and no funding will be provided under the Strategic Partnerships scheme for activities that have already taken place.  Applications should be based on a three-year project commencement date of no earlier than the 1st January 2022 (with a final start date to be agreed with successful applicants when grant is being awarded).   

We will consider providing funding for travel off the island of Ireland, in certain limited circumstances. Generally, this will be confined to supporting the cost of travel to and from Britain, where such travel is deemed essential for the successful implementation of the project.      

This scheme was open for applications in May-June 2021 but is now closed.

It is envisaged that it will open again for new applications at a later stage during the lifetime of the current Reconciliation Fund Strategy 2021-24.  Further information on that will be posted to this webpage at the relevant time.

Applications were accepted for the scheme until the closing date of 11th June 2021.  The scheme is now closed to new applications.

Given the volume of applications received, an initial shortlisting of applications is underway. We would aim to communicate the outcome of the shortlisting process to applicants during the month of September 2021.

A second stage of appraisal will follow for the shortlisted applications and it is hoped that final decisions on those applications will be made and communicated before the end of 2021. 

The initial grant payments to successful Strategic Partnership applicants are likely to be made in the period from December 2021 to summer 2022.  In deciding exactly when those initial payments are to be made, we will take into account the status of any existing Reconciliation Fund grants which have not been spent in full and for which the organisation still has projects to complete.

**Important Notice**

We appreciate that organisations who would normally have intended to apply for 12-month funding in our regular autumn 2021 round may be uncertain about how to proceed while they await news on the status of their existing applications under our Strategic Partnerships process.  We will provide separate advice to those organisations directly by email before the autumn round opens on 9 September.

Contact Address

Reconciliation Fund,
Ireland, United Kingdom and Americas Division,
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,
80 St. Stephen’s Green,
Dublin 2

D02 VY53

Email: Submit your query here