Tina Roche 7

….Tina Roche Leading Change in Ireland

By You-niq Team Log

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image003The Community Foundation for Ireland (CFI) is an organisation that empowers people who want to make a difference through a model of philanthropy that is based on trust, effectiveness and impact. Through our donors we support organisations throughout Ireland that are tackling disadvantage and inequality and making a better Ireland for all of us. We believe that strategic philanthropy can tackle social justice issues both at home and abroad.

According to Ms Roche, I started as CEO in January 2000. I had read about a model of philanthropy called a ‘community foundation’ which worked with people of major and minor means to build better communities. The first community foundation started in Ohio one hundred years ago and there are now over 1700 across the world. It was great that the Board decided that we should have one in Ireland. To date we have worked with nearly one hundred donors and distributed over €18 million in grants across Ireland. We are also building an independent endowment fund for our communities and to date have a legacy of €34 million. The endowment fund means we can give to community based organisations in perpetuity and tackle current issues effectively over time.

The main challenge is that philanthropy is at an early stage of development in Ireland. ‘Donor advised funds ‘ , which we manage, are unknown to most people of means so they tend to start a family trust or a foundation or a charity and don’t realise the level of due diligence, grant making expertise and administration it takes to run a successful family foundation. The Community Foundation does all that work for them and with them.Social change shot

We get applications for support from every part of Ireland and we can only fund a small percentage of them.

If Ms Roche had a magic wand, she would like there to be hundreds of donor advised funds making really effective grants to tackle the root causes of disadvantage and inequality and building better communities across Ireland and abroad.

We get applications for support from every part of Ireland and we can only fund a small percentage of them. I would like to be in a position to fund all the effective and strategic applications.

Over the years she has seen changes in the sector, including the involvement of migrants. It includes many changes in the field on a legislative and openness and accountability basis. It is needed in the charity sector overall and has been welcomed by all the stakeholders in this sector.

There is little change in the philanthropy field though Irish people are very generous on a responsive level. What we need to encourage is the establishment of more strategic philanthropy and philanthropists. I know that many migrants are generous and give through their churches and otherwise. Again I would like to see strategic philanthropists coming from our new communities.

The Community Foundation has supported a better Ireland through helping, supporting, assisting and funding community based organisations and national organisations to achieve their goals. We are a resource for our communities and our donors. We have supported initiatives and advocacy seeking social justice changes in many sectors of our society. Due to the great relationships we have with groups within our communities we are able to know what is affecting different groups and respond to it.

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