ChangeX, supported by Community Empowerment Fund award from Microsoft, has announced €90,000 funding to support local community groups, schools, and organisations that want to create thriving communities across Dublin. The €90,000 is split across two funds, with €55,000 available for the 2022 Dublin Community Challenge and €35,000 provided for a new Trees for Schools Challenge.
This marks the second Dublin Community Challenge supported by Microsoft, and builds on the €50,000 of funding provided last year. The 2021 Challenge supported 27 local groups to start community sustainability projects, impacting more than 6,450 local people. The Trees for Schools Challenge is a new initiative for 2022, and will support up to 10 schools to plant Pocket Forests. ChangeX, supported by Microsoft, has funded more than 300 teams in communities across Europe and the US to start impactful community projects through a series of Community Challenges.
Ronan Bennett, a teacher at Powerstown Educate Together National School in Tyrrelstown in Dublin, received funding from last year’s Dublin Community Challenge to start a Pollinator Plan Juniors project at the school. The school used the money to establish a wildflower garden. “Every child in our school has benefitted from this project in some way,” Ronan said. “The children have a real sense of ownership of the garden, and it’s something we are very proud of as a school.”
The 2022 Dublin Community Challenge will support up to 22 teams to start new community sustainability projects. Groups can choose from a carefully-curated portfolio of 13 proven ideas. This includes some favourites from the 2021 Challenge, such as GIY, an initiative that encourages people to grow their own food. Also this year sees new ideas, like PlantPure Communities Pod, which supports plant-based nutrition, added to the portfolio. Local groups who apply for funding to start one of the projects on offer will have 30 days to build a small team and design an action plan. On completing these steps, they will be eligible for seed funding of up to €5,000.
Microsoft aims to establish a positive presence in the communities where it operates datacenters, by contributing to long-term social, economic, and environmental health in those areas. The Microsoft Community Empowerment Fund, which provides funding for both Challenges, is an initiative of the Microsoft Datacenter Community Development team. Microsoft’s collaboration with ChangeX empowers local communities to address social and environmental issues in an innovative way.
“It’s really exciting to be announcing two funds this year and building on the success of last year’s Dublin Community Challenge,” said Gary McLoughlin, Datacenter Community Development, Program Manager EMEA at Microsoft. “Already thousands of people across Dublin have benefitted from the 27 impactful projects started last year. I can’t wait to see a new group of people empowered to drive positive community change through the 2022 Challenge. Also, we are delighted to support the new Trees for Schools Challenge and support schools across Dublin to create Pocket Forests.”
The 2022 Dublin Community Challenge is open to people living in Dublin. The Trees for School Challenge is open to primary and secondary schools in Dublin. Funding for both Challenges will be allocated to qualifying applicants on a first come, first served basis.