Monday, May 12, 2014, the Regional Advisory Board of The American Ireland Fund together with National Board Member and Regional Advisory Chair, Tom Meagher, Jr. were privileged to host the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins at a private Leadership Forum breakfast for Ireland Fund supporters held at the Chicago Club.
Kieran McLoughlin, President and CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds, welcomed the President and Mrs. Higgins. Special guest, Ambassador Anne Anderson, gave the introduction.
Over 60 of Chicago’s top business leaders listened as President Higgins spoke of the current economic conditions in Ireland and the philanthropic support of Ireland’s Diaspora in the United States. He noted that Ireland has been through a most testing economic and financial ordeal but they are weathering the storm. Ireland continues to offer many opportunities for investment by the international community. The availability of a well-educated, energetic, young work force is just one of the many benefits of doing business in Ireland.
The President thanked The American Ireland Fund for their philanthropy. He highlighted the fact that the supporters of the Fund enabled the Promising Ireland Campaign, with its initial targets already met, to set a new ambitious target of doubling its goal from $100 to $200 million dollars. This campaign has and will make an enormous contribution to the recovery and renewal of Irish society.
The President closed his address with these words: “The American Ireland Fund is a further exemplar of those values of openness, generosity and hospitality. You are recognised as one of the most dynamic and successful Diaspora and Philanthropic Organisations in the world. We are proud of the work you do and thank you for doing it. It is making a real difference to the lives of people on the ground, many of whom are still feeling the effects of the financial crisis which afflicted us in recent years. I want you to know that your work is deeply appreciated at home in Ireland.”