On Wednesday 7 March 2018, Fairwater was again generously opened up to The Ireland Funds Australia. The beautiful autumn evening reception was hosted to say thank you to our incredible supporters and provide an update on the Fund and Ireland. We were also treated to music by a quartet from the Australian Youth Orchestra.
Chairman Yvonne Le Bas welcomed the Irish Ambassador Breandán Ó Caollaí and his wife Carmel, she extended a special welcome to Australian Ambassador Richard Andrews, Lee Thomas representing the Fairfax Trust, Board Members of the Ireland Funds Australia including Ted Johnson, Louise Kelly, Dr. Tom Moore, Paul O’Brien, Peter Ryan and Patrick Tuttle and of course Executive Director Teresa Keating.
The Chairman’s fellow Governors present were also acknowledged, Drs Ailbhe and Frank Cunningham, Brian Fox, Mary Lee, Kim Maloney, Paul O’Brien, Peter and Toni Ryan.
We were delighted to be joined by Andrew and Michelle Penfold, our Partners at AIEF and Major Sponsors, Tim Harrowell of Emirates and Niall Ronan of Coolmore.
The Chairman thanked all guests present as the evening was an opportunity to show appreciation to our supporters, the most important people, as without them we could not assist the many projects and people that we do.
The Chairman reminded guests that we celebrated 30 years of the Fund in Australia last year and we were delighted to not only have survived but thrived.
The highlight of 2017 was the honour of hosting a dinner for President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina. The President recognised the Fund and our supporters saying “We are a powerful force for good!”
2017 also saw us have our most successful Sydney Garden Party and Melbourne Lunch ever!
We donated $416,000 to our charities in the last financial year and we are very proud that over the last 5 years 93.5% of tax deductible donations received by us have been allocated to our charities
Together with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation by 2020 our partnership will have supported 80 scholarship places.
2017 saw us support Science Gallery Melbourne, a global initiative of Trinity College Dublin.
The Chairman also proudly spoke of the partnership we have formed with Trinity College Business School to support 20 scholarship places in their MBA Programme, 4 scholarships a year for 5 years. We were thrilled to have the Governor General Peter Cosgrove launch this initiative in Trinity College Dublin last September. The Australian Ambassador Richard Andrews was a lead player in helping us to form this partnership. A video clip of the launch by the Governor General was screened and it can be viewed on our website.
We were privileged to have the Irish Ambassador Breandán Ó Caollaí speak and thank our supporters on behalf of the people and Government of Ireland, for their friendship and financial support of our projects.
Louise Kelly spoke on behalf of the Young Leaders providing an update on their progress in 2017 and their goals for 2018. Louise indicated they are still a young organisation, starting in Sydney in 2009, meaning the Young Leaders are coming up to their 10th anniversary next year, which is a fantastic milestone. There have been lots of positives, including expansion from Sydney to Melbourne and Brisbane. There is a range of diverse talent involved on the committees, new faces, skills and differing expertise from the main Fund. They are trying new things to broaden the appeal of the Fund and attract new audiences and demographics.
2017 saw the Young Leaders Global 5K go from strength to strength and has the potential to become a major event in the Australian calendar.
The Young Leaders chose two specific charities to support this year, one in Ireland Suas Literacy, and one in Australia the GO Foundation. As a result of the GO Foundation partnership The Young Leaders just last week hosted a sporting panel to discuss diversity and inclusion in sport, the panel included legends Adam Goodes, Michael O’Loughlin, Tadhg Kennelly and Keira Kinahan Murphy. This partnership has been a real source of renewed vigour, inspiration and joy.
Louise left with an appeal to attendees for their help in spreading the word of the work of the Young Leaders and for any contacts and opportunities to work together on future events.
Yvonne concluded the formalities for the evening by thanking all present and asking for their continued support and screened the Ireland Funds St. Patrick’s Day Message of Thanks.