By international standards the level of large-scale giving in Ireland is quite low even though there is a huge potential for giving in a more structured way, says Tina Roche chief executive of the Community Foundation for Ireland (CFI).
As part of the Make A Difference Campaign Ms Roche was discussing the potential for strategic giving in Ireland.
“Our capacity to give more significantly and strategically is hugely expanded in a wealthier society but to date, that capacity has not been leveraged,” says Ms Roche.
Ireland is still developing its understanding of and commitment to philanthropy, she said. The evolution and growth in the amount of donors that work with foundations like CFI reflects the value placed on philanthropy and the potential it has, she added.
Ms Roche quoted the Irish Central Bank estimates which put net household wealth at €727 billion at the end of 2017,1% above the 2007 pre-recessionary peak and almost 70% above the level in 2012. Irish households are wealthier now than they have ever been.
Other data showed that wealth was very concentrated, with the wealthiest 1% of households owning 33% of all private wealth, with the top 5% owning about 50% of that total.
Based on CFI’s experience Ms Roche said donors in Ireland are moving towards a strategic philanthropy model by providing larger and often multi-annual grants to organisations that are aiming to tackle systematic problems at their root cause.
“There is a larger number of people who can give more than just a little in the moment and who can be moved to give strategically over the long-term, she said.
“Government bears the main responsibility to alleviate social issues but no government is effective without the participation of people. There is more to be done and philanthropy has a crucial role to play,” she said.
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