On Tuesday 1 December the Consul General kindly hosted the Australian Ireland Fund’s Community Event. The Night saw the Fund welcome the heads of 26 Irish Community organisations including the Irish Advisory Board. Proceedings began with a welcome from Consul General Jane Connolly who spoke about her experience with the Ireland Funds in other countries, the calibre of the people associated with the Fund and the value of the work that we do. Jane also took the opportunity to introduce the new Vice Consul Jonathan Patchell.
AIF Treasurer Yvonne Le Bas spoke of the Funds recent rejuvenation and positioning with the desire to become the largest network of friends of Ireland in Australia contributing to worthy causes of education, peace and reconciliation, community development and arts and culture in Ireland and Australia. Yvonne spoke of the Funds capacity to support Australian DGR1 charities and the recently published Trustee Report which saw the Fund distribute $1,721,301 of grants to projects such as Soar- Inspired by Jim Stynes Reach Foundation, Solas, Suas, Trinity College and Irish Studies at UNSW. Yvonne invited guests’ feedback of what they believe the Fund needs to be doing to maintain or grow in relevance. Yvonne then shared her personal story as why she donates so much of her time and effort to the Fund.
Young Leader Louise Kelly was the last to speak to the community, as a former Vice Consul Louise was a familiar face to many and highlighted that the people in the room were the doers, the ones who have the skills and ability to make things happen. Louise also spoke about the Young Leaders, the next generation of philanthropists and her personal involvement with the Fund.
The aim of the night was to be the beginning of a conversation and closer relations with the Irish Australian Community with the hopes of achieving the Fund’s goal of becoming the largest network of friends of Ireland in Australia and to mobilise the network to contribute to worthy causes in Ireland and Australia. Some great new connections were made and the community at large were supportive of the idea to get together and start talking.