A new bursary fund in memory of Marian Finucane is to help women restart or continue their education with the aim of improving well-being and helping access employment.

The bursary fund at the largest community education service in the country will assist women across Ireland by providing financial support to access further education.

Speaking at the launch of the Marian Finucane Bursary Fund, John Clarke husband of the late broadcaster said: “There is a simple basic truth – if you educate a woman, you educate a family: If you educate a man, he gets a job. This has been proven time and time again. There are a group of women, who through social circumstances, haven’t availed of, or perhaps avoided due to social reasons, the right to be educated. Marian was passionate about education and particularly the education of women – education for self-respect and education for its knock-on effect in their families. Our aim is to assist women to get back into education, principally for their own self-respect – the upside of this is that they will help the children to stay in education and break the vicious circle of apathy, indifference, and social ostracism.”

The Community Foundation for Ireland is one of the first supporters of the fund with a donation of €10,000 being matched with a further €10,000 from a private donor. Chief Executive, Denise Charlton added:  “Marian was a champion for equality. As a feminist she broke new ground ending the silence over issues like contraception, abortion, rape and women’s employment. No history of equal rights in Ireland is complete without acknowledging the role Marian played in opening up national conversations on women’s lives, women’s bodies, women’s health, women’s choices and women’s voices.  The Community Foundation for Ireland was proud to have Marian as an ally and a regular in hosting our annual Philanthropy of the Year Awards. The awards will return in 2022 but we believe the Marian Finucane Fund could not wait. At a time when many families are under severe pressure because of unemployment it is important to respond to this immediate need.”

Heydi Foster, CEO of An Cosán, concluded: “An Cosán is committed to eradicating poverty and lifting up communities through education, and in order to do that we know that women must be empowered, that is why they are at the centre of our One Generation Solution. We are so thankful to John and the Community Foundation for Ireland for supporting our learners with this fund. Marian was a true pioneer and leader, and we can’t wait to see our women follow her inspiring path, and with the support of this fund become change makers for their families, communities and for Ireland.”

You can help us grow this fund to support even more women! All donations to An Cosán from Tuesday 7th September until Friday 17th September will be allocated to this fund, click below to donate!

After the 17th of September, if you would like to donate to the fund please contact Michael Hanly (Grants & Development Officer) at m.hanly@ancosan.ie