Cork Life Centre – Student Profile William

William had a rocky beginning in mainstream education. He joined the Life Centre in 2014 as a 3rd year student, two years ago. He is eagerly anticipating his return in September. He described his relationship with the centre as “too strong, it is unbelievable – it’s not just another school this is a family. It has changed my life as well as my families.”

In 2008 After budget cuts, the Cork Life Centre lost all funding from the department of education. However, the centre has still managed to grow and continue to help all the students that pass through its doors. “The donations we receive benefit the students and the teachers so much.” Last year William went to Calcutta in India to help street children, an opportunity he may not have had if he had stayed in a mainstream school. “I am so grateful, it is hard to talk about and explain the experience but it has completely changed my outlook on life, the children have so little but are still so grateful for everything they have.”

The 17 year old is determined to sit his leaving certificate and has aspirations about becoming professionally involved with mixed martial arts. At the tender age of 17 William has already won 6 national titles in MMA and Jiu-jitsu and is currently preparing for the World and European Championships next year.

The Cork Life Centre works to provide services to those students who felt distant from the mainstream education system and to give young people across Cork a second chance at succeeding in a school environment. Deputy director Rachel Lucey says “the developments which have been made as a result of the funding from the Cork Foundation have been consistent and have helped to improve the lives of so many young people throughout Cork city and county.” The centre wants to see their students get a step closer to their aspirations and dreams.



Impact of Cork Foundation Funding


Students William Cooper, Alan Raymond and Amber O’Callaghan with Don O’Leary, Director

The Cork Foundation is a unique philanthropic model which is fueled by donations from people who are keen to support social enterprise and community groups who bring about positive social change. It’s designed to help social enterprises to flourish. The funding provided allows these diverse organisations to create jobs and make a positive impact on the local community. The Cork Foundation’s main aim is connecting with Cork network globally to support Cork people locally. They match donors by connecting local and international donors to social enterprise projects in their community. This contribution goes towards creating sustainable jobs in the area, which in turn helps to improve the lives of Cork people and provides a meaningful way to give back.

The partnership with the Cork Life Centre has been a truly rewarding one for all involved. Seeing the impact that the centre has had on young people’s lives is really inspiring. Board member Frank Hannigan says “Everyone at Cork Foundation is blown away by the Cork Life Centre. The ambition and the ability to execute their strategy is motivational.” The Cork Foundation is delighted to play a small part in helping the centre to carry out their important work. It’s all about making a difference and the Cork Life Centre, through their impressive efforts does just that.

Pupils Alan Raymond and Danny O’Keeffe with Don O’Leary, Director and Pádraic Vallely, CEO Cork Foundation

Established in 2000, the purpose of the Cork Life Centre is to provide education to students who have needed to find an an alternative learning environment outside of mainstream education. Don O’Leary took over the centre in 2006 when there were just 6 students and 5 staff members. At present there are 51 students with 71 volunteers, only three of which are being paid.

The Cork Life Centre was forced to refuse 138 students this year which Don O’Leary, director of the life centre described as one of the most difficult obstacles he has been faced with. After budget cuts in 2008 by the Department of Education all funding from the state ceased. According to Don O’Leary, “while they are still receiving funding from the Christian Brothers, bursaries have decreased despite an increase in students attending the education centre.”

Director Don O’Leary explains that there is “Extremely diverse cohort of young people in the centre who have two things in common – firstly they did not have positive experiences in mainstream schools and secondly their confidence is at an all time low.” Funding is a constant battle for the Cork Life Centre and without an increase in funding and development the numbers of student being refused will continue to rise.

The Cork Life Centre is just one of the very worthy causes that the Cork Foundation helps to fund. Cork Foundation are offering a great opportunity to Cork businesses at home and abroad to invest in social enterprise projects and improve the lives of Cork people by getting involved with Cork Champions Programme. Being a champion is a chance for local people to invest in Cork and to give back to a social enterprise in a responsible and simple way.  Cork Foundation provides the framework for companies to contribute and allows donors to see for themselves the difference their donation can make to their local community.



#HackforGood delivers for Cork.

Tech community donate €40k of services over 24 hours

The Cork Foundation, connecting with Cork network globally to support Cork people locally were delighted to partner with Republic of Work for Corks first #HackforGood. On Friday May 12th over 50 volunteers from the Tech sector in Cork came together to help five deserving causes better tell their stories online by totally revamping their online presence in just 24hours.

Hack For Good was a one day event whereby five causes; charities and social enterprises got an online makeover through the skills of volunteers. The event saw over 50 volunteers give 24 hours of their time and expertise to help five organisations develop their online presences at no cost to them. The volunteers ranged from some of Cork’s top design, development, technical, marketing and business talent. 


Rebel Wheelers and their #HackforGood Team

The chosen causes included; The Down Syndrome Centre Cork, Helping Hands Homeless Action Group (part of the PATH Trust), Rebel Wheelers Multi Sports Group, Benchspace Cork and Cork D.A.W.G Over the 24 hours the volunteers developed new web presences, branding, social channels and marketing strategies to help the organisations which otherwise would have cost each organisation a potential of €10,000+. In addition Hack For Good also raised over €2,000 through online and text donations which will be split evenly between the organisations. 


Speaking about the event, Alan Beechinor Chief Executive of Helping Hands Homeless Action Group part of the PATH Trust said “the event was a huge success for us, we started from scratch with our team of volunteers and developed a new logo, website, branding and content. The volunteers worked right through the night and by 10am Saturday morning our new website went live.”  

Path Cork, Cork Foundation, Republic of Work, hackforgood
Team Members of PATH Cork


Padraic Vallely, CEO of the Cork Foundation said “We were delighted to partner with Republic of Work on this unique event. We recognise the importance to society of Social Enterprises and the impact that they make in their communities. This event was a great example of the Tech community in Cork giving back to Cork, by offering time and expertise in overhauling digital platforms for five great organisations in Cork. At the Cork Foundation, we recognise the importance of the social economy and we want to continue to invest in Social Enterprises across Cork City and County.”


The event was supported by a wide number of volunteers and organisations who supported the participants and social enterprises during the day including; Bank Of Ireland, Nespresso, Dukes Coffee Company, Huckleberry’s Doughnuts, Rebel Chilli, Ballymaloe Foods, Twenty Sandwich Bar, GoGo Snacks, Clonakilty Black Pudding, Apache Pizza Harrington & Sons Douglas, Cool Beans and Farm Fresh Foods. 

If you would like to here more about Cork Foundation and get involved, you can visit

Cork Foundation, Republic of Work, HackforGood,
Mary Galvin Cork Foundation, Aine Collins Chairperson Cork Foundation, Leah Fleming Cork Foundation

Press Enquiries

Telephone: 0851261085


Pitch Your Project- 24th November 2016

The Cork Foundation are set to host an event with the Funding Network and Philanthropy Ireland in Cork in the coming weeks. The event will take place on the 24th November- Vertigo Building, Cork County hall from 6pm-9pm. The Funding Network who are specialised in hosting live crowdfunding events and  have already brought their successful model to Ireland; hosting a live crowdfunding session with Philanthropy Ireland and are now set to do the same with the Cork Foundation.

We have received over 50 applications from organisations to pitch their project. Four Cork  charities have been  selected to attend the event and will each be given six minutes to present their social initiative to a room full of Cork business leaders and potential donors. Following presentations the live crowdfunding session then begins, enabling the chosen charities to receive generous amounts of funding for their projects in real time.

We have received over 50 applications from organisations to pitch their project. After going through all applications there are four organisations which are chosen:

Field of Dreams-  Field of Dreams will provide meaningful work and life skills development opportunities for adults with Down syndrome.

First Light- FirstLight offers support and information, and promotes research into the sudden, unexpected, often unexplained deaths of infants and young children.

Helium Arts-  Helium Arts is the national children’s arts and health organisation. We bring art, creativity and play to children and teenagers in hospitals and healthcare settings across Ireland.

Shine Ireland-Shine Ireland  provides services and supports for children with autism.


Karen Millen UK Operations Manager of The Funding Network said “We’re delighted to be partnering with the Cork Foundation to bring TFN back to Ireland. Our events in Dublin and Cork were amongst the most successful launch events we’ve ever had and the generosity of the local community was incredible. TFN seeks to transform lives and we’re excited to offer this opportunity to more brilliant social-change organisations.

Eilis Murray Project Director for Philanthropy Ireland commented “Following the success of previous TFN events, we are delighted to see it coming back to Cork. The event provides an opportunity to highlight Philanthropy by enabling people to participate in an alternative and innovative model of giving. Philanthropy is for everyone.”

Padraic Vallely CEO of The  Cork Foundation said ” We are delighted to be hosting this great event in partnership with TFN and  Philanthropy Ireland. It is so important for the Cork Community to give back to local charities and this is a great chance to fundraise and raise awareness for a number of social issues.”

 Give back for Cork.Make a difference to a number of cork charities. Email  for further information.






Connecting organisations’ in Cork that can #Give4Cork in a non-monetary way by donating time, facilities, products and energy to Cork Charities, identified by Cork Foundation through the support of Cork’s 96FM and Cork Cares.

All this week, Cork Foundation in partnership with  96fm and CorkCares are going to connect individuals and companies in Cork City & County that can #Give4Cork in a non- monetary way.

How? Simple! – Donate your time, offer your facilities, give products or share your expertise/skills to Cork Charities that have been identified by Cork Foundation.

Simply go to Cork Cares website for a list of charities in need, and pledge what you can.


Wish List

Name of Organisation

  • First Light is calling on all Cork Call centres, help FirstLight achieve the impossible by donating time and expertise to make 6,000 calls on behalf of FirstLight,
  • First Light Calling on all Cork marketing and PR experts out there.Can you help to grow our FirstLightCork100 campaign to 100 business sign ups in 2 weeks
  • Common Purpose Cork youth programme ‘Your Turn’ second level students. Sourcing three venues for each of the programme days and catering for each day for 30 students and 2 staff.
  • Good Shepard Cork New volunteers both in the projects and to help out with fundraising events and collections.
  • Good Shepard Cork We also need uniforms and school books and equipment for children who are homeless and resident in Edel House.Good Shepard Corktowels, toiletries – toothbrushes and toothpaste, crockery, pots and pans and other kitchen / cooking equipment for the homeless women and families resident in Edel House.
  • Support After Crime Serivces New computer,Support After Crime SerivcesMonitoring camera for our premisis
  • Active Connections Outdoor Equipment inc
  • Adult sized wetsuits
  • Buoyancy Aids of all sizes
  • Kayaking helmets
  • Sit on top or river kayak/canoes
  • Mountain bikes
  • Surf board
  • Rain coats and trousers
  • Fleece jackets, hats and gloves
    Active ConnectionsProfessional Support inc
  • Business Mentoring
  • Contracting
  • Accounting/Auditing
    Active ConnectionsLogistical Support
  • A new vehicle
  • An equipment trailer
  • 3 computers
  • 3 phones
    Cork Life Centre Volunteers
  • Cork Life Centre  New laptops
  • Field of Dreams
  • Polytunnels (to given size and spec)
  • Garden sheds
  • Modular buildings
  • Palisade fencing
  • Gardening tools / wheelbarrows / potting tables etc
  • IT equipment
  • Office furniture
  • Canteen equipment
  • Kitchen ware
  • Classroom furniture (for adults)
  • Sanitary ware
  • Storage
  • Hard landscaping materials
  • Signage
  • Picnic tables
  •  Bins
  • Office supplies
  • The Health Zone
  • A social media / marketing expert to volunteer their time in helping us to market ourselves better
  • A Spacious & Inspiring & Positive venue to hold our live events – ideally 1500 square foot +
  • A donation of a projector and screen for our movie nights
  • Cork Environmental Forum
  •  Free office/desk space in City
  • Volunteer to help with PR/ Social Media
  •  Volunteer with HR experience for the Board
  • Cork Community Art Link
  • Volunteers – stewards for parade, carpenters, drivers, artists and musicians etc.
  • Computers and printers – all of our computers are very old, very slow and can’t cope with modern software.
  • Projector and screen
  •  Workshop/carpentry tools
  •  Fire extinguishers
  •  Paint, varnish etc.
  • Parade equipment – generator, inverters, PA systems, trailers.
  •  Folding chairs
  • Printing of flyers, brochures etc.
  • Rebel Wheelers
  • Facilities for training basketball hall
  • Help with administration and pr
  • Website Design

Cork Community Art Link:

1. Volunteers – stewards for parade, carpenters, drivers, artists and musicians etc.

2. Computers and printers – all of our computers are very old, very slow and can’t cope with modern software.

3. Projector and screen

4. Workshop/carpentry tools

5. Fire extinguishers

6. Paint, varnish etc.

7. Parade equipment – generator, inverters, PA systems, trailers.

8. Folding chairs

9. Printing of flyers, brochures etc.


 Volunteers to teach basic computer skills to older people in various locations around the city and county

·         Volunteers to do small DIY jobs free of charge for older people

·         Volunteers to help to advertise and promote our services so that older people know they can call on us for help

·         Equipment for our new office and training room including;

o   Good quality office chairs

o   Meeting chairs

o   A business-use colour printer

o   A projector screen

o   Speakers for use with our IT equipment

o   Portable or wall mounted heaters

o   Tea Coffee Dispenser flasks (for meetings/training sessions)


computer equipment as our current ones are very old and struggling under the strain of Windows 10!






Cork Foundation & THINKTECH Fund

Cork Foundation and Social Innovation Fund Ireland host joint event launching THINKTECH in Cork.

THINKTECH is now seeking proposals that will use technology to improve lives

An interactive evening of discussion took place in The Port of Cork on Tuesday 5th July. A crowd of 60 plus people were in attendance to discuss the new THINKTECH fund of €1 million sponsored by and Social Innovation Fund Ireland.

The main points of discussion were the challenges and opportunities facing the technology industry, whilst also focusing on social innovation and the opportunities that Cork and Ireland have to be market leaders in this section

The Speakers on the night included Senan Cooke of Communities Creating Jobs, Eoghan Ryan of Social Innovation Fund Ireland, Gráinne Dwyer of Ludgate Hub and Siobhán O’Donoghue of Uplift. The evening was be moderated by Gillian Keating of Ronan Daly Jermyn & I Wish.

THINKTECH, a €1 million project to support and grow ideas for a better Ireland, was officially launched at Google by Minister for Environment, Community & Local Government, Simon Coveney, T.D. on 21st June. Created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland with support from and the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government, the unique THINKTECH challenge will identify innovative ideas that use technology to create positive social impact in Ireland.


Social Innovation Fund Ireland, and, the philanthropic arm of Google which invests in teams with bold ideas that create lasting global impact, believe that technology has the power to transform our lives for the better. Successful participants will have access to an award fund of up to €750,000, which consists of €600,000 in grants and up to €150,000 worth of support and mentoring, plus a package of Google supports. They will also enter a five month programme with Social Innovation Fund Ireland with support from


Social enterprises, charities, and other not-for-profits are eligible for participation. Applicants should be able to demonstrate how they will use both technology to make Ireland better and help solve critical social issues in an innovative way. Proposals should have already demonstrated progress towards measurable social impact; have the ability to scale across Ireland and could use a wide range of technology solutions including hardware, software, an online platform or an app.



THINKTECH Project Manager, Social Innovation Fund Ireland, Eoghan Ryan said: “We are delighted to team up with for THINKTECH. This project shines a light on the potential for social enterprises to use technology to solve critical social issues and create a better Ireland. Since Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s launch in January this year, the organisation has grown from strength-to-strength, and through this collaboration with & the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government, we have been able to provide a €1 million Fund and a unique platform to promote social innovations.  This project also highlights the benefits of private and public sector organisations working together to make a better Ireland.”


CEO of Cork Foundation Padraic Vallely said “We were delighted to host this event in partnership with Social Innovation Fund Ireland. The ideas and the energy in the room were so encouraging and I urge any social innovation in the cork area to apply for this fund. If you have an idea that can help change and shape Irelands social issues this fund is for you. The Cork Foundation want to speak to social enterprises in Cork City and County, to see if we can assist in sustainable job creation in this sector. DSC_0009

Minister for Environment, Community & Local Government, Simon Coveney, T.D. speaking at the launch said: “As a newly appointed Minister to this Department, I am delighted to be in a position to support social innovation platforms like THINKTECH. This initiative is a first for Ireland and offers a great opportunity to social enterprises, charities and other non-profit organisations to demonstrate their solutions, which should aim to create a measurable social impact that can be scaled all over Ireland.”


Jacquelline Fuller, Director of said “ knows that technology has the power to transform people’s lives for the better, and we have seen world wide the fantastic impact social enterprises, charities and non-profits can have developing and implementing innovative solutions to some of society’s biggest issues.  We are proud to support THINKTECH, which is the first of its kind in Ireland and look forward to seeing great projects and supporting the winners through the five month programme which Social Innovation Fund Ireland will run in 2017.”


THINKTECH is now calling for applications until July 31st, please visit

Eoghan Ryan, Project Director THINKTECH, Senan Cooke of Communities Creating Jobs, Padraic Vallely , CEO Cork Foundation,Gillian Keating Ronan Daly Jermyn & I Wish,Siobhan O ‘Donoghue, Uplift, Grainne Dwyer, Ludgate,Skibbareen Photos by Emily Burns