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Shared Island Civic Society Fund

The Shared Island Civic Society Fund is now closed for applications.

This initiative will provide up to 1 million euro available in January 2024 to organisations working on North South projects across a range of sectors.

Any queries about the fund can be directed to sharedislandcsfund@dfa.ie.

If you wish to be contacted about any future rounds of the Shared island Civic Society Fund please send your contact details to sharedislandcsfund@dfa.ie.

  1. What is the Shared Island Civic Society Fund?
  2. Objectives
  3. Eligibility
  4. Grant Amounts
  5. How to Apply
  6. Reporting

1. What is the Shared Island Civic Society Fund?

The Shared Island Civic Society Fund is an initiative to promote practical North South cooperation and engagement through civic societies.

The Shared Island initiative is a whole-of-government priority which aims to harness the full potential of the Good Friday Agreement to enhance cooperation, connection, and mutual understanding on the island and engage with all communities and traditions to build consensus around a shared future. The Shared Island Dialogue series has confirmed the extent of ongoing cooperation between civic society actors, North and South and interest in deepening those relationships on an all-island basis, combining ideas and capacity to have a positive impact on people’s lives far beyond what can be achieved separately in either jurisdiction.

The Good Friday Agreement and subsequent Agreements acknowledge the importance of active and inclusive civic engagement on a cross-border basis, in supporting and developing the relationships accommodated in the Agreement.

Some civic society organisations are constituted on an all-island basis, such as the major Sports Governing Bodies. Others have formed strong cross-border partnerships, or have members in both jurisdictions. However, in many areas, cross-border civic society interaction is limited or non-existent, notwithstanding common circumstances, concerns, and interests.

2. Objectives

The Shared Island Civic Society Fund, which will complement the vital work supported through the Reconciliation Fund and other Government resources, will encourage and support civic society and community organisations to develop new cross-border links, to further strengthen existing partnerships, or to create or broaden cross-border connectivity on issues of concern for the island of Ireland.

Applications must have a strong North South dimension and applicants will be asked to demonstrate how their proposed project will do one or more of the following:

  • Deepens North South links through the development of sustainable cross-border civic relationships
  • Develops and/or deepens cross-border relations between civic society organisations, North and South
  • Promotes constructive and inclusive dialogue around the opportunities and challenges facing the island through cross-border and cross-community engagement
  • Contributes significantly to the development of an all-island civic society ecosystem, particularly in relation to areas of cooperation and fundamental rights provided for under the Good Friday Agreement
  • Adopts an innovative or novel approach to building North South relations

Applications with both East West as well as North South dimensions will be welcomed. Applications will be strengthened by the inclusion of funding contributions from the participating partner organisations.

Consistent with the objectives of the Shared Island Civic Society Fund, applications are particularly sought which will foster sustained engagement between civic society organisations at a regional, national or sectoral level as distinct from stand-alone events or engagements.

3. Eligibility

Applications are invited from civic societies, business and trade union representative groups and other regional or national representative bodies, including of underrepresented voices of women, young people, older people, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQI+.

Funding is intended to support the emergence of new cross-border civic projects and forums. Funding may complement and add to specific project work that is already taking place on a North South basis, or serve as seed funding for regional or national civic society organisations establishing new strategic links on a cross-border basis.

Applications will be assessed on the following criteria and will be required to reach a minimum threshold under each of these headings in order to be recommended for funding:

  • How the project/programme outcomes align with the Fund’s objectives
  • The impact of the project/programme based on clear expected outputs and outcomes
  • Capacity of the application organisation to deliver results
  • The organisation’s financial management capacity, governance arrangements, monitoring and evaluation systems, and sustainability

The below list provides some examples of what would not be eligible for funding under this scheme. Please not this list is not exhaustive.

  • Standalone activities that are not part of a wider project/programme
  • Core Operation costs
  • Capital costs

Successful applications will be chosen through a competitive application process and reaching the minimum threshold under the above headings will not necessarily guarantee receipt of funding.

The following additional eligibility criteria also apply:

  • Applications must have a clear North South dimension and only applications from;

        - Civic society organisations based in the South engaging in new project/programme work with a partner(s) in the North

        - Civic society organisations in the North engaging in new project/programme work with a partner(s) in the South

        - All island bodies engaging in new project/programme work in the North and South will be considered. East/West dimensions and partners to such projects will also be welcomed.

  • Only direct project/programme work will be eligible for funding
  • An organisation may only make one application for funding
  • Organisations already in receipt of funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and/or other Government Departments/public bodies are eligible to apply for this fund, although activities supported must be distinct and additional to those being supported by other Government funding schemes.

4. Grant Amounts

It is envisaged that a total of up to €1m will be made available in this round to support successful projects. Grants awarded through the Fund will be made on a once-off basis to support the project activities outlined in a given application for a period of up to 12 months’ duration.

Applications are particularly sought which will foster sustained engagement among civic society organisations at a regional, national or sectoral level. 

We particularly welcome applications for grants of up to €10,000 from small community based organisations. Other funding awards of up €25,000 per successful project will generally be made, with scope for awards of a maximum of €50,000 where necessary for larger projects.

While this Fund will support organisations collaborating with one another on a North South basis, grants will be awarded to one lead organisation to support the collaborative activities outlined in a given application.

The Shared Island Civic Society Fund is designed to provide project/programme funding, not institutional core support. Grants will therefore be awarded only to cover direct project/programme costs associated with a project/programme with a clear North South dimension involving civic society organisations on both sides of the border. Grants will not be awarded to cover established operational costs, such as core salaries and overheads.

5. How to Apply

The application process will open on Monday, 25th September 2023 and applications must be returned by 1pm on Monday, 23th October 2023. Prospective applicants can download the application form here.

Completed application forms will be accepted by email to sharedislandcsfund@dfa.ie until 1pm on Monday, 23th October 2023. Applications submitted after this deadline will not be considered.

In completing the application form, applicants must clearly demonstrate that their projects will deliver on the Fund’s overall objective to deepen cross-border and all-island collaboration, North and South. Applications must provide details of both cross-border partners and set out how collaboration between these partners will strengthen North South civic, economic, cultural, and/or political links. The objectives, deliverables, costs, and timescales for this collaboration must also be clearly set out in the application. Applications will be prioritised based on how strongly they meet these criteria and align with the objectives of the Fund.

Any questions should also be directed to sharedislandcsfund@dfa.ie.

Please note that certain documents must be included along with the application, including letters of commitment from each group applicant organisations’ most recent annual accounts. If you are applying for a grant of €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 here. The Revenue Commissioners will issue a tax clearance certificate, and it is this certificate which should be submitted with your online funding application.

Following receipt of requested documentation and appraisal of applications, it is anticipated that applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications beginning in early 2024.

6. Reporting

Effective reporting by organisations receiving funding is essential for the Department to gain a better understanding of the work and impact of grantee organisations.

Final project reports must be submitted once the project has been completed or within twelve months of the date of receipt of the grant (whichever is the earlier date). Reports should be prepared using a reporting template which will be made available to grantees and should be submitted by email directly to sharedislandcsfund@dfa.ie.

Along with the final project report, organisations in receipt of funding must submit their annual financial accounts. The relevant accounts at reporting stage are those for the financial year in which the organised received payment of the grant from the Shared Island Civic Society Fund.

Failure to submit reports and accounts in a timely manner may impede organisations’ ability to receive future funding support from the Department of Foreign Affairs.