Social Finance Foundation has announced two new funding initiatives for community organisations and social enterprises in Ireland.

Under the first agreement, AIB/EBS, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank will make an additional €44m available in low cost funding to the Foundation from 2021 to 2025. 

Under the second agreement, the European Investment Fund has agreed to provide loan guarantees totalling €25m to support new lending by the Foundation. 

The €25m loan guarantee is being made available under the European Union's Employment and Social Innovation programme, as part of the Investment Plan for Europe.

Social Finance Foundation's CEO Brendan Whelan said said the two new agreements will not only enable the foundation to continue to provide social finance to community groups and social enterprises but also to increase such funding to local communities and projects.

"The Foundation is deeply grateful for the continuing support of the Irish banks, without which it could not operate. We also wish to acknowledge the commitment of the EU (through the EIF) to the social economy, whose importance has never been more evident than in these difficult days," Mr Whelan said.

Social Finance Foundation was established in 2007 and provides loan funding through its lending partners Clann Credo and Community Finance Ireland to social organisations, which do not meet the credit criteria of mainstream financial institutions. 

Loans of over €120m have been granted to over 1,000 social projects around the country since inception in 2007. 

Typical projects include social enterprises, community centres, community sports clubs, community arts and tourism initiatives, social care organisations for children, the elderly and disabled, playgrounds and niche housing associations. 

Some of the projects deal with the most vulnerable in Irish society in some of the more disadvantaged areas.