Grants Director , Community Foundation for Northern Ireland
Orla is currently Grants Director for the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland. She is married to Joey, and mother to Dervla, Senan, Finbarr and Fionnuala. Orla has extensive experience in grant making through management of 70+ funds, including on behalf of Comic Relief, NI Government Departments, Nationwide, ARN Foundation, NET, and local Community Benefit Funds. Her current role in the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland involves development of grant making policy, reflective practice, grant analysis, and development of donor care, for both new and existing donors, and line management of a large Grants team, who process over 2,000 applications each year, with an annual funding spend of over £8million. Orla led on the FoundationÕs coronavirus response, building an initial emergency fund of £70,000 to over £5million, supporting over 1,000 organisations to deliver emergency and renewal support. Since beginning her role at the Foundation in October 2015, Orla has been instrumental in transforming the FoundationÕs grant making and impact, including leading on the FoundationÕs efforts to be a more open and trusting grant maker, supporting the third sector to access much needed funds, flexibly and at pace. Orla is a member of the CFNI Senior Management and Leadership Team. Her experience in general community development, economic development, grant making, management, communications, and peace building, spans over twenty years in the community sector. She has facilitated dialogue in areas where there are political tensions, and her work has been hailed as a model of best practice. She is passionate about people and the third sector, and is a strong advocate of the value of the sector in delivering change in society.