Communities and voluntary organizations are in line for €20 million in new funding following an agreement between the Foundation for Social Affairs and the Council of Europe Development Bank.
The partnership is designed to increase low-cost lending for community projects and social enterprises across the country.
The €20 million loan is for a three-year period from 2022 to 2024. The Social Affairs Foundation aims to more than double its loan book to €100 million by 2028.
The funds will be directed to communities and voluntary organizations, sports clubs and facilities, and social enterprises. The specific goal of the fund will be to support environmental and climate initiatives in communities.
Social Finance Foundation chief executive Brendan Whelan said the deal “helps in many ways, including expanding our loan book, diversifying our funding sources and improving the sustainability of our model by improving the cost of funding”.
Council of Europe Development Bank Governor Carlo Monticelli said: “The Foundation for Social Finance is focused on the most vulnerable regions and groups of people.
“I hope the loan can be transformative in the area of social finance for which this charity plays such a key role.”
The Social Finance Foundation was established by the Government in 2007. Finance Minister Paschal Donoho said the loan “will support vital funding for community organizations and social enterprises across Ireland”.
The Social Finance Foundation ensures liquidity and risk sharing in the social finance sector in Ireland. Most of the beneficiaries of the funds cannot be financed directly through commercial channels.
The Foundation for Social Affairs has provided more than €166 million in loan funding to community and voluntary groups since its establishment in 2007. Outstanding loans of the foundation in December 2021 amounted to EUR 48 million.