Lifes2good Foundation invests in effective organisations that help empower and educate women and children and increase the impact of community-based initiatives in accordance with the principles of equality and non-discrimination.
Background of Lifes2good Foundation
After selling the highly successful Viviscal brand in 2017 James and Maria Murphy decided that the time was right for them to “give something back”.
James and Maria decided to use a portion of the money they had made to help improve the lives of others. They decided to focus primarily on Galway and the west of Ireland, but in recognition of global inequality they furthermore decided to work in two developing countries. It was also decided that the initial sectoral focus would be on women and children in situations of vulnerability.
Lifes2good Foundation was born in September 2017!
Lifes2good Foundation envisions a world where all women and children can live in dignity, fulfilling their potential, in vibrant communities, sustained by commitment and innovation.
Lifes2good Foundation Strategic Priorities 2018-2022
- Recognising the importance of understanding the context and dynamics of domestic and sexual violence, we want to support the education and empowerment of women and girls.
- Recognising the role of attitudes to domestic and sexual violence in hindering progress towards its reduction we want to positively influence attitudes in Ireland to domestic violence, sexual-based violence and consent and relationships, particularly amongst boys and young men.
- Recognising the high levels of domestic and sexual violence we want to help protect and support women and children who are currently in situations of vulnerability.
- Recognising the value of social entrepreneurship, we want to support imaginative people, to nurture exciting ideas, to impact on current social issues in Irish communities.
- Recognising the positive influence of sport and music in Irish communities we want to widen access and participation particularly amongst girls and young women.
The Board of Lifes2good Foundation
Chairman: James Murphy
Members of the Board: Zhanna O’Clery, Conor Murphy, Dearbhla Fitzsimons, Eoin McKeon, Maria Murphy, Denis Killian, Heather Pope and Bernard Kirk
Company Secretary: Tom O’Donnell
Chief Executive Officer: Maurice McQuillan
Changing attitudes and behaviours around “consent” and sexual violence
Lifes2good Foundation is involved in an ambitious four-year programme with National University of Ireland Galway. This is a groundbreaking programme of 6 actions aimed at transforming the national landscape when it comes to how young people learn about, and become skilled in, managing sexual consent and sexual violence. The programme is turning high-quality research into practical tools that can make an immediate impact on attitudes and behaviors.
Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, with students of NUI Galway, launching the Active Consent programme in January 2019.
Supporting COPE Galway to build a fit for purpose shelter for women in Galway at the site of the old Magdalen Laundry (now Modh Eile House)
This investment in the refurbishment of the old Magdalen Laundry is changing the way Galway can support its most vulnerable women and children. The new facility has a mix of one and two bedroomed units, with cooking facilities and can accommodate nine women and twenty-four children. The complex also incorporates a state of the art childcare unit (more than half of the people who turn to COPE for assistance are children). This new facility raises the standard of domestic violence services not just in Galway, but in Ireland.
James and Maria Murphy (co-founders of Lifes2good Foundation) with Jacqui Horan (CEO COPE Galway) and Noel Murphy (site manager) on a site visit to “Modh EIle” on 19th November 2019
Set up and sustain, 8 primary schools in remote, mountainous villages in Afghanistan where otherwise there would be no education
In a four-year multi-annual programme Lifes2good Foundation is working with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) as part of a broader initiative to increase access to education across three rural provinces in Afghanistan.
Decades of war and extreme poverty have prevented many of Afghanistan’s children from accessing education, especially in remote areas of the country. Approximately 40 percent of Afghanistan’s school-aged children are out of school. In mountainous and isolated communities, these numbers are even lower. Girls in Afghanistan are especially disadvantaged and struggle with educational barriers like gender discrimination and child marriage – an estimated one out of three girls are married by age 18 and around 60 percent of Afghanistan’s out-of-school children are girls.
In the villages where Lifes2good Foundation has established schools, there is no other educational provider. The model provides one classroom multi-grade teaching and incorporates sustained engagement with the government, advocating for the government to take over the running of these schools after Lifes2good four-year engagement. Fifty percent of the pupils in the Lifes2good Foundation schools are girls.
It would not be culturally appropriate to run girls only schools in rural Afghanistan, but 50% of the pupils in the schools supported by Lifes2good Foundation are girls, and this is seen as an achievement in the context.
Maurice McQuillan, CEO Lifes2good Foundation, visits a classroom, in a Lifes2good Foundation school, in the mountainous village of Mindiyak in Bamiyan province in Afghanistan.
In 2020 schools closed for many months in Afghanistan due to Covid-19. Lifes2good Foundation partner, CRS, continued to deliver hard copy education packages into the remote mountainous villages so that some form of learning could continue. Lifes2good Foundation also agreed with CRS to divert some budget lines to allow vital hygiene messages to be developed for, and delivered to, the same remote communities. The same message was as important in the mountains of Afghanistan, as it was in Ireland ….. “Wash your hands”!
Support girls and young women’s participation in sport and music
Lifes2good Foundation recognises the positive influence of sport and music in Irish communities. We want to widen access and participation particularly amongst girls and young women.
The foundation is supporting Maoin Cheoil na Gaillimhe to set up and run a city-wide Galway School of music, to bring music out to the children via their national schools rather than construct one central building which children would have to travel in to attend.
The foundation is working with Connacht Rugby and University of Limerick Sports Science to increase participation rates in rugby in Connacht and to reduce dropout rates, amongst both genders and in all socio-economic areas.
The foundation is also working with The Community Foundation of Ireland and the Federation of Irish Sport on initiatives to encourage girls to participate in sport. The myriad benefits of sport are well documented particularly for teenagers and young people.
Yet the “drop out” rates of girls and young women at 14/15 years of age and again at 17/18 years of age remain stark. In 2019 Lifes2good Foundation opportunistically used Galway female GAA success to promote attendance at three All Ireland finals by creating a team-specific video prior to each final and promoting it on social media. The feedback in terms of engagement and “hits” across Connacht was encouraging.
Lifes2good Foundation video, used on social media, to promote interest in the Galway footballers when they reached the All Ireland final, after the Galway camogie team had won the All Ireland. (Thanks to “Along Came a Spider” for the production).