The Ireland Funds New York Gala
Over 900 guests came together to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of The Ireland Funds New York Gala at Chelsea Piers, Pier 60. The Gala raised over $3 million making it the most successful ever in the history of the event.
John Murphy, President and Chief Financial Officer of The Coca-Cola Company received the Leslie C. Quick, Jr. Leadership Award in recognition of his achievements in business and philanthropy. He spoke of being a teenager in Co. Meath when The Ireland Funds was first established. “The trinity goals of the Fund: peace, culture, and charity, resonate a lot with me from my memories of what were pretty dark and grim days back in the 70’s,” said Mr. Murphy. “The Ireland Funds this year is going to make a massive difference in the lives of many people and in many communities that need our help.”
For its many philanthropic initiatives, the Daniel M. Rooney Ambassador Award was presented by Dan Rooney’s sons, Art Rooney, President of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jim Rooney, Board Member of The Ireland Funds America, to The National Football League with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who received it on the NFL’s behalf. He spoke movingly about Dan Rooney as a mentor and colleague and said, “The beauty of this evening is that whatever your heritage is, everyone is Irish tonight. I think we share a common bond with The Ireland Funds. The mission of this organization and the NFL have similarities, we are both intent on impacting our communities and the world around us. You do that every day through this organization and as the NFL, we hope to do the same.”
Also honored was screenwriter and playwright Lisa McGee, creator, writer and executive producer of the critically acclaimed series Derry Girls. She received The Ireland Funds Literary Award. She thanked The Ireland Funds and shared insights into her upbringing and work in Derry/Londonderry during an on-stage Q&A with Shaun Kelly, Vice-Chair of The Ireland Funds America. “I’m very proud of where I come from,” said Ms. McGee. “All I set out to do when I wrote Derry Girls was to showcase a place I knew and loved but a place I felt was never truly represented on screen before. A place that refused to be defined by the many difficulties it faced but wanted to be defined instead by its warmth and wit and generosity. It’s an amazing place to come from and I’m very privileged that I got to tell part of our story.”
“Forty-five years ago, our co-founders Dan Rooney and Tony O’Reilly established The Ireland Funds with an inaugural dinner here in New York,” said Caitriona Fottrell, President & CEO of The Ireland Funds. “Their vision of delivering philanthropic support to worthy causes across Ireland has not only been realized but exceeded thanks to our donors and friends in New York and around the globe. The 45th Anniversary New York Gala was an opportunity to celebrate that commitment, camaraderie, and the profound difference our donors have made for thousands of outstanding not-for-profit organizations. It was also an honor to recognize our honorees: the National Football League, John Murphy, and Lisa McGee for their exemplary contributions to business, sport, and the arts.”
Notable guests at the 2023 Gala included Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States Geraldine Byrne Nason; Helena Nolan, Consul General of Ireland; and Fergal Mythen, Ambassador of Ireland to the United Nations.
John Murphy, President and Chief Financial Officer of The Coca-Cola Company received the Leslie C. Quick, Jr. Leadership Award
Daniel M. Rooney Ambassador Award was presented by Dan Rooney’s sons, Art Rooney, President of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jim Rooney, Board Member of The Ireland Funds America, to The National Football League with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who received it on the NFL’s behalf.
Lisa McGee, creator, writer and executive producer of the critically acclaimed series Derry Girls received The Ireland Funds Literary Award.
Lisa McGee with Shaun Kelly, Vice-Chair of The Ireland Funds in an on-stage Q&A.
Photographers: Jim Higgins, Andres Otero, Nuala Purcell