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Council of Europe Development Bank & Social Finance Foundation partner to support community projects in Ireland with a €20 Million Loan

 Dublin – 10th June 2022]: Social Finance Foundation, the Irish social finance organisation and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) have set the foundation stone for a partnership that will increase low-cost loan funding to community and social enterprise projects across the country.

The €20 million loan is for the three-year period 2022 to 2024. It is the first-ever partnership between Social Finance Foundation (estd. 2007) and CEB, which was founded in 1956 and now has 42 member states. The partnership was formally approved by the CEB’s Administrative Council at the CEB’s annual meeting, which was held in Ireland for the first time.

The CEB funding will be incremental to the low-cost funding provided to Social Finance Foundation by the Irish banks and will enable it to fund highly social projects. The CEB loan will contribute to Social Finance Foundation achieving its high growth strategy of more than doubling its loan book to €100 million by 2028.

The additional funds from CEB will be targeted at community and voluntary organisations, sports clubs and facilities, and social enterprises. A specific objective of the CEB funds, implemented by Social Finance Foundation, will be to support environmental and climate-action initiatives in communities.

Announcing the partnership, Brendan Whelan (Chief Executive of Social Finance Foundation) said: “Partnering with CEB for the first time helps in many ways including the expansion of our loan book; the diversification of our funding sources and improving the sustainability of our model by improving funding costs. We will also work closely with CEB to increase the measurement of the impact of the funding.”

The Governor of CEB, Carlo Monticelli, said: “Social Finance Foundation is focused on the most vulnerable regions and groups of people, like CEB is. I hope that the CEB loan can be transformative in the field of social finance for which this charitable organisation plays such a pivotal role.”

Social Finance Foundation was established at the initiative of the Irish Government in 2007.  It operates under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Finance. Welcoming the partnership between Social Finance Foundation and CEB, The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe T.D., said: “This loan will support vital financing to Community Organisations and Social Enterprises throughout Ireland and is the start of a really important partnership between the CEB and the SFF.”

With a motto of ‘Finance for Social Good’, Social Finance Foundation is the key facilitator and provider of liquidity and risk sharing to the social finance sector in Ireland. Most all of the beneficiaries of the community funding made available through Social Finance Foundation either could not be financed directly through commercial channels or would be financed with great difficulty.

With the benefit of donated and low-cost funding from the Irish banks, Social Finance Foundation, in association with its social lending partners (Clann Credo and Community Finance Ireland), has provided over €166m in loan finance to community and voluntary groups since its inception in 2007. The Foundation’s loan balances outstanding in December 2021 were €48m.

For information:

Social Finance Foundation

Conor Dempsey, Dempsey Corporate, Tel: +353-(0)86-247 9892/


Jelica Vesic, CEB, Tel: +33 6 03 12 57 80/

About Social Finance Foundation

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

Unique Funding Model

Social Finance Ireland has an operating model unique to Ireland. It combines the State, acting through the Government and Department of Finance; the Private Sector through the representatives of the participating banks (AIB, Bank of Ireland, permanent tsb, Ulster Bank); the Third Sector through the Social Lending Organisations (Clann Credo and Community Finance Ireland); and the EU through the support of the European Investment Fund and the Council of Europe Development Bank. It is this extensive and interdependent combination of support that has enabled the Foundation and its subsidiary Microfinance Ireland to deliver on its mission to facilitate social development through utilising finance and financial expertise.


Social Finance Ireland’s Mission

Its mission is threefold: Firstly, generate a strong social impact by funding, through our lending partners, creditworthy projects with loan finance; Secondly, to support micro-enterprises by providing loan finance where such is difficult to obtain from mainstream sources; 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.


About the CEB 

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 42 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank’s target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody’s, outlook stable, AAA with Standard & Poor’s, outlook stable, AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook positive and AAA* with Scope Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.