In 2015, NYAP’s Youth Arts Blog will be asking a series of funders about why and how they fund Arts Programmes for young people.
In this our first funding blog of 2015, Jordan Campbell from the Ireland Funds discusses some of the recent programmes that they have funded and gives us an insight into just what the Ireland Funds are looking for in a funding application.
The Ireland Funds were set up in 1976 in the United States with three key goals: Peace, Culture and Charity. Approaching forty years later, we have grown into a philanthropic network operating in 12 countries and we have raised over $480 million for non-profit organisations across the island of Ireland working in the areas of arts and culture, education, community development and peace and reconciliation.
Artistic and cultural programmes have always been a priority for The Ireland Funds and we remain as committed as ever to the pursuit of two key aims: access to the arts and provision of high-quality arts programming. While our focus is not exclusively on young people, the fact that arts programmes play a crucial role in nurturing creative and intellectual development make youth-targeted arts initiatives one of the most important areas of investment for The Ireland Funds. In recent years, our most significant investment in the arts has been a €2 million grant to Music Generation, a strategic, national music education programme that provides young people with access to high-quality vocal and instrumental tuition in their local areas. Co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds and local funders, Music Generation will continue beyond our investment following a funding commitment by the Department of Education & Skills in July 2014. Other key commitments to youth arts initiatives include two of our recent Flagship Investment grants:
Fighting Words – our funding is supporting their expansion into Belfast
Playhouse Derry, to support the cross-community arts programme Street Talk
In addition to these, we have awarded over €100,000 in grants to arts organisations through our 2014 Small Grant Round, including awards for youth-targeted projects run by the Butler Gallery, Baboró, Helium Arts, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, The Pushkin Trust, Macnas, Writers’ Week Listowel, Cinemagic, the NCAD’s Future Creators programme and Longford’s Backstage Theatre. We are delighted to support these organisations that offer such excellent opportunities for young people to engage in the arts. While they have different areas of focus, these grantees all successfully secured funding based on a number of common strengths on their applications and approach. For each of our 2014 grantees, the applications included
- The number of young people they are working with and describe the depth of engagement. This helps us make some judgments about value for money and the likely impact your project will have on participants.
- The context. If your organisation is the only provider of creative opportunities in your area, let us know that this is the case! Funders will not necessarily know much about your location or your target audience—make sure we are aware of what distinguishes your organisation in terms of goals, target audience and location.
- A description of how young people benefit from participating. We know that our application form is tight in terms of word count, but this is due to the fact that we receive between 750-1,000 applications every round. We have a section on our application that asks how you measure the success of project. Our advice? Give us some target numbers of participants but then describe what you expect them to learn or what changes you expect after the project is complete.
Our aim is to support a broad range of high-quality artistic and cultural opportunities for young people across Ireland. Applying through our Small Grant Round is the best way for us to get to know your organisation—our next round will open in February or March so keep an eye on our website for our updated guidelines (these should be available from January). If you have any questions about the eligibility of your project, please do get in touch. We are happy to give you a steer on what makes for a competitive application and are always curious to hear about new, exciting initiatives so keep in touch!