The 2009 American Ireland Fund New York Dinner Gala raised $2.32 million, $400,000 ahead of its original goal, which is remarkable given the very challenging times in which the Dinner took place. It is a tribute to the commitment, loyalty and generosity of the Fund’s supporters and to the energy of the Dinner Committee.
A sell-out attendance honored Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the Taoiseach and Jack Dunn and Dennis Shaughnessy, respectively CEO and Chairman of FTI Consulting Group. Loretta Brennan Glucksman praised the Mayor as a great philanthropic and civic leader. Micheál Martin, T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs, represented An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, who was honored for his work in deepening the bonds between the diaspora and Ireland. Jack Dunn and Dennis Shaughnessy were recognized for their great personal, professional and philanthropic contributions to Ireland.
Co-Chairs John Duffy and Michael Higgins acknowledged the exceptional lengths to which the Committee of over sixty members, from the U.S. and Ireland, went to guarantee the night’s success. They also announced a gift of $200,000 to launch the Forgotten Irish campaign to help elderly and disadvantaged members of the Irish-American community in New York City.
In a great fusion of New York and Irish culture, the entertainment for the night was provided by Keltic Dreams, a dance troupe of Hispanic and African-American teenagers from the Bronx, which the Fund has supported since its inception. Important sponsorship for the event was provided by FTI, Digicel, Business & Finance, Coco-Cola, Atlantic Philanthropies, Invest Northern Ireland, Ryan International Corporation, Tax Back International and Tourism Ireland.
The event’s success, almost in defiance of the recession, was a testament to the strength of Irish America.