On 8 February 2007 I launched the Social Finance Foundation to implement the Social Finance Initiative announced in Budget 2006. The Foundation has been established on a not-for-profit basis to act as a wholesale supplier of social finance for on-lending by specialist social finance lenders to support social and developmental projects and social enterprise in local communities.
The Foundation is a private company established under Company Law and is governed by its Board of Directors under its Memorandum and Articles of Association. The company has received seed funding of €25 million from the Irish banking sector for distribution to qualifying Social Lending Organisations who will on-lend to individual social finance projects.
The Foundation's lending policies and procedures as well as the appointment, role and responsibilities of staff and their terms and conditions of employment are matters for the Board of the Foundation. The Board is chaired by Mr Peter Quinn and information on the other directors of the Foundation is included in the press release issued by my Department which is available on the Department's website at www.finance.gov.ie. My Department has been advised by the Foundation that the Social Finance Foundation has commenced wholesale lending to accredited Social Lending Organisations. Loans totalling €2.4 million have been approved by the Foundation and €486,700 of these loans have been drawn down to date.
I see the launch of the Foundation as a catalyst for deeper participation by private finance in the area of local and community development and social enterprise.