5 May 2021
As one of the most charitable and generous regions in the UK, Northern Ireland is set to celebrate the positive impact of philanthropic giving in our community. During May 17th-28th, ‘Philanthropy Fortnight’ will tell the stories behind modern philanthropy in Northern Ireland.
Despite declining numbers over 69% of us give every year to charity – more than any other UK region, a partnership between the Community Foundation, Fermanagh Trust, and Belfast Charitable Society, aims to share what motivates and inspires generosity and highlight the wide range of causes supported by philanthropy and the tangible difference it makes to our community.
Enormous things are being achieved today through Philanthropy in NI, things which simply wouldn’t happen without the generosity and involvement of local people. We witnessed this hugely through the pandemic and during philanthropy fortnight we will celebrate and recognise the value of what has been achieved, highlighting the impact on local lives and what we do next.
11 strangers from Northern Ireland joined together for the Foundation’s Circle of Change initiative. A unique group of people from all walks of life who come together for six months to talk and learn from each other about the root causes of issues affecting our communities. Together they raised and allocated £16,621 to seven excellent projects that are pioneering new ways to unlock potential in people from low-income backgrounds, tackle mental health issues, and support minority groups in NI.
Many Circle of Change members told us that the experience was a rich learning experience for them personally. Liza Wilkson shared with is ‘I’ve learned, laughed, made new friends, had my eyes opened to issues I wasn’t aware of, got involved in projects that will run long after this circle is complete and gained a level of self-awareness I didn’t think possible in such a short space of time’.
Belfast Charity Society philanthropic response to pandemic were direct and immediate – within a matter of a week of enforced homeschooling, Belfast Charitable Society had brought groups of independent funders together and purchased 225 laptops and funded an array of educational resources for students from post-primary school in North Belfast.
Philanthropy can come in all shapes and forms. Our hope is to encourage even more philanthropy, stimulate debate and highlight the joy of giving amongst the young and the old, individuals, families and businesses.
We’re asking everyone who has been involved with making a difference during the pandemic to share your projects of kindness and positivity online tagging @CFNIreland using the hashtag #PhilanthropyFortnight2021.
Siofra Healy, Paula Reynolds and Lauri McCusker