Funding crisis closes knowledge exchange body for non-profits

Fri, Jun 29, 2012, 01:00

AN INDEPENDENT organisation that compiled a major database on the non-profit sector is to cease trading with immediate effect.

The Irish Nonprofits Knowledge Exchange (INKEx) was previously funded through a combination of government, philanthropic and corporate grants. The company yesterday said Ministers had “declined to offer funding” required to avoid a members’ voluntary liquidation over the coming weeks.

“The company was able to trade for the first half of 2012 thanks to donations from charities, philanthropies and private companies, and from data sales,” a spokeswoman said.

“Unfortunately, despite wide acknowledgement of the cost-saving and other benefits of a single repository of non-profit data, and notwithstanding the offer from a major private philanthropy to consider match-funding Government’s contribution for the next three years, the Minister for Environment and the Minister for Justice declined to offer funding.”

A spokeswoman for Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said in the context of savings needed in public spending, the department was unable to continue funding of the project “beyond late 2011”.

In February, INKEx it published a report entitled Irish Nonprofits: What Do We Know? The analysis of thousands of non-profit organisations and charities showed overall income for religious congregations and churches fell from about €43 million in 2008 to €39 million in 2009, a fall of 10 per cent.

INKEx, which was founded by former Arts Council chief executive Patricia Quinn, has argued it has created a “de facto register of charities”.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter’s confirmation that the full implementation of the Charities Act, which would require charities to make their financial information public, had been deferred for cost reasons, “led the company to accept most reluctantly that no further funding would be available from that source”.