Henry Smith Charity - Northern Ireland Development Fund

The Northern Ireland Development Fund was set up in response to the challenges facing Northern Irish civil society 'post peace process' and the need for people to respond to changing political and social environments.

The £3 million fund is run in partnership with The Henry Smith Charity, who administer the grants.  The Fund recognises the need to nurture civil society leadership in Northern Ireland as part of contributing to a new and vibrant society. The approach has been to back people rather than projects and to bring the selected individuals together, share perspectives and identify opportunities to work together.

Following an encouraging pilot in 2008/9 there have been two further annual funding rounds. As well as grants, we have invested time in helping leaders take up opportunities to collaborate and create alliances across sector lines.  A final stage of the programme in 2012/13 has seen the grant-holders themselves take responsibility for identifying the civil society leaders of the future.  We believe that a combination of financial support from the two funders and mentoring from the group will give confidence to a younger generation committed to working to improve the future of Northern Ireland.      

The final tranche of the Foundation’s contribution to the fund was £250,000 in 2012.  This is in addition to our funding through the Main Fund to Northern Ireland.