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Focus Area

Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund

A donor-advised fund granting €1 million to sustain artists, arts organisations, and their local communities.

The Brief

Bank of Ireland wanted to deliver on their purpose while supporting a sector hardest hit by the pandemic.

Our Process

Our approach was informed by our research for the Government’s Arts & Culture Recovery Taskforce, which showed the need for funding to help artists and arts organisations adapt to Covid-19.

Business to Arts co-designed a response that became the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund, providing €1 million in grants of €5,000 - €10,000 to artists and arts organisations working in collaboration across the country to respond to, or adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic. We worked with our sister organisation, Arts & Business Northern Ireland, to ensure their expertise on arts organisations in NI was represented during the outreach and judging process.

The grants would allow the grantees to purchase equipment, create ideas for socially distant or digital projects, or respond to a specific need or challenge in their community. It also allowed artists to respond to the pandemic artistically, helping them to process the everchanging guidelines and landscape.

As we emerged from the pandemic, the final round of funding focused on projects increasing community wellbeing.


  • 102 projects funded across the island
  • €1 million disbursed to the creative community
  • 420+ creatives employed during the pandemic
  • 58% of respondents had over 100 audience members for their projects, with one serving nearly 26,000 school children. (Rounds 1 & 2, Round 3 is ongoing)
  • Awarded Best Philanthropic Support to the Arts at the 2022 Business to Arts Awards
  • Shortlisted for European Sponsorship Awards 2022


  • Provided all-island support to the arts at a time of crisis
  • Supported Covid-adapted projects that went on to become sustainable post-pandemic performance formats
  • Positive impact on perceptions of Bank of Ireland and is a driver of brand consideration
The hugely experienced Business to Arts team have been instrumental in the development and delivery of our Begin Together Arts Fund - adding innovation, rigour, and credibility to our programme, and guiding us in giving meaningful support to the Fund grantees. Our work with Business to Arts plays an important role in delivering Bank of Ireland’s mission - enabling customers, colleagues, shareholders, and society to thrive.”
Paula Murphy, Group Director Brand and Sponsorship, Bank of Ireland

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