The 2017 Thank You Fund winners have been announced. The successful groups include: The Little Museum of Dublin, An Cosán; Foróige, CDYS Ltd, Leave No Trace Ireland, Girls’ Brigade and many more. All have been hailed as ‘heroes’ and their impact as ‘immeasurable’ by Thank You Fund ambassador PJ Gallagher…

Coca-Cola has announced 2017’s Thank You Fund award recipients and the successful non-profit organisations were presented with their certificates during a celebration at Zeminar, Ireland’s largest youth conference (RDS Dublin).

Inspiring and supporting young people

A total of €100,000 has been granted to 14 community groups across Ireland and Northern Ireland for innovative projects that will support and inspire young people.

The worthy winners

The five organisations to receive the big €10,000 grants are: The Little Museum of Dublin; An Cosán; Foróige; CDYS Ltd, Leave No Trace Ireland; and Girls’ Brigade. The judges selected these projects for larger grants as they felt that each of them were unique and compelling and that with the €10k investment they could achieve sustainable impacts in their communities.     

An additional eight organisations will each receive €5,000 for programmes including the Ulster GAA Youth Leaders Programme; Co-operation Ireland’s project for youths to understand the impact of Brexit; the NI Youth Forum’s Without Boundaries project and the Change Makers project by Start 360.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award will also receive €5,000, as will Oasis Caring in Action Antrim which supports young mothers, Willowfield Parish Community Association and All Together in Dignity - ATD Fourth World Ireland.

Since the Thank You Fund was launched in 2011 it has invested a total of €855k in community groups and non-profit organisations throughout Ireland.    

Overwhelmed by the potential impact

PJ Gallagher, Thank You Fund ambassador, says he’s been overwhelmed by the diversity, thoughtfulness and potential impact of the projects that have received funding today through the Thank You Fund. “I’m humbled by the people working in communities throughout the island of Ireland. I believe the impact of the work they do with young people has an immeasurable impact on our society.”

A catalyst for new thinking

Petre Sandru, Country Manager, Coca-Cola Ireland, thanked all the organisations who applied for Thank You Fund grants this year and the judges who helped select the winners. “I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to enter. It’s important that the next generation of our society are given every possible opportunity to reach their full potential. We hope that the Thank You Fund grants will make a difference.

“I would also like to sincerely thank our judges who gave freely of their time and expertise to select the worthy winners.”

Transforming lives

The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is delivered in partnership with the Irish Youth Foundation and Youth Action Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the announcement, Sabina Cotter, Head of Grants and Programmes, Irish Youth Foundation, said the projects selected had the potential to transform the lives of young people. “The best way to reach young people and help them acquire skills that they will use throughout their lives is by getting them involved with groups that serve their passions,” she said.

No one size fits all

“There is no such thing as one size fits all – and the projects funded by the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund will appeal to a broad cross section of young people. All are designed to make a strategic and impactful intervention in their lives and our communities stand to benefit as participants go on to set a positive example among their peer group,” Sabina continued.

By investing in community groups that specifically target youths, Coca-Cola is aiming to support those who provide targeted interventions for young people, helping to keep them interested in certain activities or providing support and networks that help them to make the right decisions as they move from their teenage years to young adulthood.

See the full list of 2017 winners