3rd May, 2012

New York Dinner Gala 2012

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Manhattan, New York, May 3, 2012 – Worldwide Ireland Funds’ President and CEO, Kieran McLoughlin and Chairman of The American Ireland Fund, Loretta Brennan Glucksman, announced at the 2012 New York Gala that the Promising Ireland campaign – a philanthropic initiative to raise $100 million for charities from among the Funds’ global network in 12 countries by the end of 2013 – had not only reached its goal 19 months ahead of schedule but had also exceeded its target. Mr. McLoughlin revealed that the campaign total now stands at over $120 million.

Mr. McLoughlin said, “This milestone brings the total amount raised since our inception in 1976 to over $430 million, with one quarter of that total raised in just the past three and a half years alone. The response to the Promising Ireland campaign reveals the depth of our donors’ generosity and their belief in Ireland’s future. However, the most important outcome of this campaign is the support it has provided to more than 300 charities whose work is vital at a time of intense social need and diminished resources.”

Mr. McLoughlin added that The Worldwide Ireland Funds would determine the next phase of the Promising Ireland campaign at their annual Conference in Ireland in June.

With over 1,300 guests from the spheres of business, the arts and politics, the 37th annual American Ireland Fund Gala in the Tent at Lincoln Center, is the largest of the 100 events hosted annually by The Worldwide Ireland Funds. Breaking all records the 2012 Gala is the most successful event in the Funds’ 37 year history and contributed $4.2 million to the Promising Ireland campaign.

The 2012 Gala, honoring Bank of America’s chief executive officer, Brian T. Moynihan, was attended by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, on his first official visit to the United States since taking office last November. Other VIPs attending included Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, New York Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly, Speaker of New York City Council, Christine Quinn, Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel and celebrated author Colum McCann.

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, spoke of the importance of the work of The Worldwide Ireland Funds. He applauded the enduring relationship that the Funds had with Ireland and noted the vital and lasting contribution that their support was making at a crucial time for Ireland.

Chaired by William J. Mullaney and Brian A. Ruane, the 2012 New York Gala honored Mr. Moynihan by conferring the Leslie C. Quick Jr. Leadership Award on him for his corporate leadership, philanthropy, and commitment to Ireland.

Through the ongoing support of the Quick Family, the Leslie C. Quick, Jr. Leadership Award is given annually to a business person of outstanding character and acumen. The award recognizes excellence and major contributions to Ireland and Irish America. Past recipients of the award include Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical, Bob McCann of UBS and Kip Condron of AXA Financial.

News Coverage

Biggest ever Irish American fundraising dinner breaks all records

4th May, 2012
The biggest fundraising dinner in the history of Irish America or
indeed Ireland, took place last night at the Lincoln Center in New York.
The American Ireland Fund raised a staggering $4.3 million blowing away
all previous records.
View article

Remarks by
President of Ireland
Michael D. Higgins

Transcript provided by the official website of the President

Dia dhíbh a chairde,

As Uachtarán na hÉireann/President of Ireland, it’s a great pleasure to be here and I thank you for your invitation. I am at a personal level also delighted to return to the United States where I studied and taught, and to New York in particular where my daughter studied.

Since its establishment over thirty six years ago, the American Ireland Fund has become one of the most successful and important Diaspora and philanthropic organisations in the world.  The scale and reach of tonight’s gathering is a powerful demonstration of this achievement and of the excellence of both the projects assisted by you and the quality of their delivery.  I congratulate the Fund, in particular, for the success of its "Promising Ireland" Campaign – a promise that has not only been kept but delivered well ahead of schedule.

I would like to pay a special tribute to Loretta Brennan Glucksman.  As well as being an extraordinarily effective Chair of the Fund, she is a tireless champion of the importance of the relationship between Ireland and the United States in all its aspects. I also congratulate the recipient of the Leslie C. Quick Jr Leadership Award, Brian Moynihan and pay tribute to his remarkable success.

As President of Ireland, I can tell you that the American Ireland Fund continues to make a vital and lasting contribution to the welfare of the people of Ireland.  Through the projects it supports, the Fund makes a real, tangible and sustainable difference on the ground.  The Fund is driven by a very effective network of highly influential individuals from the worlds of politics, culture and business that define and deliver their Irishness by connecting with Ireland in so many practical and helpful ways.

The achievement of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland is the most powerful demonstration in our era of what the Irish at home and abroad can deliver by working together.  I know that many here tonight played important roles at key moments so that future generations of Irish people from all traditions, north and south, can live in peace and political harmony.

On behalf of the people of Ireland, I want to express my deep appreciation for this sustained engagement and support – for this positive and pragmatic Irishness that makes a real difference now and into the future.

As Ireland moves out of recent economic difficulties, and closes a chapter on the illusion of a speculative economic bubble, it is now playing to its strengths in a real economy based on the creativity of its people and the contacts it has inherited and forges among its friends abroad.

The people of Ireland have always shown remarkable resilience and determination. They have had to overcome setbacks in every century, at home and abroad. In recent years, our people have endured severe economic pain and it has impacted very negatively on the lives of many.  Having reflected on the lessons of that chastening experience, we have resolved to move beyond anger or cynicism and to work together to build an economic future that is sustainable, just and based on ethical principles. We will give a lead in that form of economy in Europe and across the globe.

A beacon in the darkness has been the continued success and influence of Irish art and culture – both at home and abroad.  At a time when other leading institutions in Irish society were prone to failure and fallibility, our artists continued to excel and to demonstrate that the Irish creative genius is alive, well and flourishing – as reflected in this week’s great news that Once has been nominated for 11 Tony Awards. This gives me enormous hope for the future – not just about the vibrancy of the arts but about the creative genius and resilience that exists in all the dynamic sectors of Irish life including science (inspired by the legacy of Rowan Hamilton in Mathematics and Ernest Walton in Physics), technology and business innovation.

The good news is that the Irish economy is growing again.  This growth has been predominantly export-led with export levels at their highest ever.  This is due to improvements in competitiveness and to Ireland’s enduring attractiveness as a destination for foreign direct investment. When measurements are made, Ireland ranks first worldwide in terms of the value of projects and investment it attracts and is also regarded as the most supportive business environment in the euro area. 

Investment in Ireland is increasing as those who realise that success means being ahead in recognising opportunity are letting their investors know that now is the time to invest in and benefit from Ireland’s economy. 

The story of Irish emigration to this country is one marked in part by tragedy and loss, but also ultimately by success and triumph over adversity.  Out of that great generational movement of people who left Ireland – eight million people between 1800 and 1922 – has emerged a vast Irish-American community that thrives in its adopted homeland. But it is also a community that deeply cares about the land of its ancestors – as clearly demonstrated by the existence and success of the American Ireland Fund.

As we work together to overcome our challenges at home, this great reservoir of goodwill that we enjoy in the United States remains for us both a source of inspiration and of practical support, and we cherish this support and these connections.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.