With the window to get your Thank You Fund applications in coming to a close, it’s time to look at what comes next – and explore the difference it’s made to worthy causes in the past…

12th July 2019 marked the end of the application process for this year’s Coca-Cola Thank You Fund, but the proceedings are far from over. Now begins some tough judging, a public vote, and a huge chunk of prize money to be dished out to community-focused groups across Ireland.

Pencils down

We’ve been blown away by this year’s Thank You Fund applications – with more applicants than ever before, each one representing an organisation in their local community aimed at working with communities in Ireland and Northern Ireland to inspire and support young people.

Whether that’s educational and training programmes for young people, programmes that support diversity and inclusivity in the local community, or programmes that take an innovative approach to demonstrating sustainability and wellness, the applications we’ve received have already wowed our panel of judges.

You’ll remember Pete Snodden helping us celebrate the launch of this year’s Thank You Fund.

So, what happens now?

With all applications received, our expert panel of judges had the arduous task of whittling the list down to just 22 organisations to progress to the next stage. Each of those 22 organisations will now be taking part in an interview with the judging panel, in which they’ll present more information on their projects. The judges will then decide on where the funding should go.

On 15th August we will be revealing that shortlist on www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou, and launching the public vote from 9am. That means on Coca-Cola.ie you’ll be able to vote for your favourite project to win the ‘People’s Choice Award’. The People’s Choice Award winners will then receive an additional €5,000 in funding for their project – on top of the money awarded by our judges.

What’s on offer?

Thank You Fund applicants are in the mix for funding from an overall pot of €100,000. Whilst our judging panel (and the People’s Choice Award) will ultimately be responsible for deciding how much money each worthy cause receives, each organisation has been asked which sum best suits their project upon applying – from fixed amounts of €5,000, €10,000 and €20,000.

How has the Thank You Fund benefited people in the past?

To date, the Thank You Fund has awarded €955,000 to 83 non-profit organisations across Ireland, with a further €100,000 ready to be allocated for this year.

In previous years, that money has gone a long way. In 2018, for instance, the money was divided between 13 brilliant projects ranging from music and drama programmes for young adults with autism, to groups aimed at re-engaging children and teens with reading – and everything in-between!

Ryan Tubridy also helped to bring in the class of 2019.

Here’s the full list of 2018 winners:

  • Autism Support Louth & Meath (€10,000)
  • Blossom Ireland Community Inclusion (€10,000)
  • Children’s Books Ireland (€10,000)
  • Include Youth (€10,000)
  • Mary Peters Trust (€10,000)
  • Patrician Youth Centre (€10,000)
  • Willowfield Parish Community Association (€10,000)

The following six causes also netted €5,000 each:

  • The County Wexford Youth Film Project
  • Dublin North West Area Partnership
  • Global Action Plan
  • Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind
  • Love and Care for People
  • Northern Ireland Youth Forum

Extern Limerick, whose programme channeling young people’s energy into horse-care won €30,000 in 2016, described the funding as “pivotal”.

“It’s key,” said project coordinator Robbie Corrigan. “What we’re hoping to do is provide a means for the young people to learn about horses and then channel that love of horses into looking after themselves. This will help build their self-esteem, confidence and leadership skills. With this funding we can inspire young people to go ahead and lead their lives the way they want.

“100% of this funding will go directly to help educate the young people we work with. Without this €30,000 from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund, our work would still be just an idea, a pipedream.”

You can find the full list of last year’s winners here, and read up on everything you need to know about the Thank You Fund here.