Social Finance Foundation was established in 2007 by the Government to address the needs of community organisations and social enterprises for loan funding which was difficult to obtain from mainstream financial institutions. Acting as a “wholesaler”, it provides funding to its lending partners Clann Credo and Community Finance Ireland.

The Key Players in Social Finance in Ireland


SFF benefits from donated and low-cost funding from the Irish banks

Social Lending Organisations

Clann Credo and Community Finance Ireland (CFI) – Social Lending Organisations (SLOs)

Department of Finance

Department of Finance

European Investment Fund

SFF benefits from a guarantee funded by the European Union under the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).

Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI)

The EaSI Programme supports increased access to financing for social enterprises that meet certain eligibility criteria. The guarantee covers loans up to a maximum of €500,000.  For information on the application process, please visit the websites of Clann Credo https://www.clanncredo.ie/ and Community Finance Ireland https://communityfinanceireland.com/.  The European Commission has selected the EIF to implement the EaSI Guarantee.
For more information on the EaSI Programme, please visit the websites: European Commission, and EIF.
Clann Credo and Community Finance Ireland (CFI) – Social Lending Organisations (SLOs)


Our mission is threefold: Firstly, generate a strong social impact by funding, through our lending partners, creditworthy projects with loan finance; Secondly, to realise the full potential of social finance in Ireland; Finally, working collaboratively, to undertake research and deliver initiatives which promote social good, with the Irish Government and the Irish Banking Industry as our sponsors.

Vision. SFF is acknowledged as a leader in establishing the concept of social finance in Ireland

Values. Integrity, Innovation, Delivery, Collaboration.


logos for Clann Credo, Community Finance Ireland, Microfinance Ireland, and the it makes sense loan


2021 Annual Report

You can download a PDF of the 2021 Annual report on the The Media / Publications page.


Lending in 2021 by Geography

Measurement of the social impact of the projects which the Foundation supports is very difficult. However, metrics have been generated and are shown in the tables below. Every effort is made to enhance this information and make it as relevant as possible.

The Foundation strives to achieve a balanced distribution of funds throughout the State and the Chart illustrates this is being broadly achieved.

Connaught €8,522K / 17.75%

Dublin €6,017K / 12.53%

Leinster €11,157K / 23.23%

Munster €16,876K / 35.14%

Ulster €5,445K / 11.34%


Community €16,092K / 33.47%


Heritage €1,547K / 3.21%


Social Enterprises €3,249K / 6.76%


Other €3,512K / 7.30%


Sports €20,050K / 41.7%


Social Care €3,566K / 7.42%

Lending in 2021 by Sector

The nature of the Foundation’s lending is shown below.  The Foundation is very conscious of its obligation to ensure that monies are utilised in areas where they will have a high social impact. The breakdown illustrates that this is being achieved.

Social Impact from Loan Funding 2021

Jobs supported – mostly temporary
No. of people using sports facility
No. of people using community facility
No. of children using facility
No. of visitors
No. of social care users


February 2007

Minister for Finance publicly launches Social Finance Foundation

March 2007

Irish banks provide €25m to Foundation

October 2007

Loan drawings commence with Clann Credo

April 2009

Foundation signs Loan Agreement with 12 Irish banks for additional funding of €72m

June 2011

Strategy Report on Financial Inclusion published

September 2012

Microfinance Ireland launched by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Mr. Richard Bruton TD.

February 2014

Loan drawdowns of €40m exceeded.

May 2015

Report published on need for a Personal Microcredit Scheme in Ireland

November 2015

Launch of pilot Personal Microcredit Scheme with 30 credit unions

February 2017

10th Year Anniversary

April 2018

Completion of Research Report on the Social Enterprise sector in Ireland in collaboration with Department of Rural and Community Development

November 2018

Publication of Report “Interest Rate Restrictions on Credit for Low-income Borrowers”

December 2018

€100m lent to 1,000 organisations

May 2019

Foundation signs the EaSI Loan Guarantee Scheme with EIF

December 2019

Foundation signs Loan Agreement with Irish Banks for additional €44m of funding

July 2020

Social Enterprise Republic of Ireland (SERI) established with the support of the Foundation.

December 2020

MFI quadruple loan approvals in 2020 to support microenterprises during Covid-19.

February 2021

Appearance at Oireachtas Committee advocating for cap on interest rates for money lending organisations.

May 2021

Initial discussions with Council of Europe Development Bank for loan facility.

November 2021

Submission made to Banking Review by the Department of Finance on the role of social finance in Ireland.


Let’s Get Talking

August 24, 2022

Kilcock Celtic

August 24, 2022

Templederry Windfarm

August 24, 2022

Community loan for Sophia Housing

August 24, 2022



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Jobs Supported
Using Community Facility