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Educate Together Blog

Educate Together Blog

Making Ends Meet: Why Does Educate Together Need to Fundraise?

Did you know: Educate Together, Ireland’s equality-based school provider, is, in fact, an Irish charity. Surprised? You’re not alone.. 

What comes to mind when we think of ‘charity’? Maybe it’s services for vulnerable people like those experiencing homelessness, maybe it’s advocacy groups supporting people affected by particular health issues, or possibly organisations that raise funds to offer lifesaving care to people overseas that are victims of war or global inequalities. All causes very worthy of support from members of the the Irish public, who regularly rank as amongst the most generous people in the world in terms of giving money and volunteer hours to charitable causes.

While most people think of the above causes as charitable, in actual fact the largest sub-group of the not-for-profit sector in Ireland is education. According to the recently launched 7th Annual Fundraising Performance Report, education is by far the largest sub-sector of Irish charities. Included in this group are the State’s primary and secondary schools. 

The Irish State pays teacher salaries and pays for the construction and maintenance of school buildings. It also provides grants and supports to schools via the Department of Education. However, anyone who’s ever served on a school Board of Management would know all too well that Irish schools often need to subsidise their income through fundraising to maintain their services and balance their books. It is also a fact that school Patrons, the organisations that establish schools, appoint the Boards of Management and direct the over 'ethos' of the school, also need to fundraise to balance the books.

Since 1978, Educate Together has been trying to transform the Irish education system by offering an equality-based model of education to all families, regardless of their religious or cultural background and socio-economic status. However, as a patron of schools all across Ireland, a major challenge is how we fund our work. 

Many people do not realise that Educate Together is a charity. Just 10% of operating costs are covered by a core grant from the Government and we must raise the balance through trading, service delivery and fundraising. There is a huge and ever-growing demand for Educate Together’s unique equality-based schools, which have almost as many families on waiting lists for our schools as are currently attending our schools. But the reality is that without adequate funding, we will not be able to meet this demand into the future. 

Every time we open a new school we need to find at least €60,000 through private donations before we can open its doors to new students. The biggest obstacle in reaching this goal is that members of the Irish public do not realise that Educate Together and its schools are in fact charities. 

While Educate Together provides a public service on behalf of the State, not all of our costs are covered by the State. In the absence of a fully Government-funded education system, we rely on the generosity of the public to operate our equality-based schools.

This is why we need to run One Day Together – Educate Together’s national fundraising day. This is the day when school communities and supporters rally to ensure that we can continue to open and support Educate Together’s fast-growing network. Schools, start-up groups, alumni and families up and down the country mark the day with celebrations and fundraisers. All in aid of our charity, Educate Together. 

With the funds raised, Educate Together continues to develop the Learn Together Ethical Education curricula at primary and second-level, to open new schools so that more families can experience the unique equality-based ethos and to advocate for equality in education so that no child will be an outsider in Ireland’s schools. 

 

Eimhin Walsh

Head of Development and Fundraising 

Educate Together 

 

Friday 6 October 2017 is One Day Together, Educate Together’s National Fundraising Day. Visit our fundraising page to support our charity. 

Address: Educate Together, Equity House, 16/17 Upper Ormond Quay, Dublin 7, Ireland - Charity Number: CHY 11816