The San Francisco Gala was a splendid evening on Saturday, March 4th. 400 guests from the spheres of business, the arts and politics gathered to honor Ireland’s Consul General in San Francisco, Philip Grant, as he received The Ireland Funds’ Distinguished Leadership Award. The Award was presented by Worldwide President & CEO of The Ireland Funds Kieran McLoughlin and Judge Kathleen Kelly, representing Governor Jerry Brown. Atlantic Philanthropies founder and noted philanthropist Chuck Feeney attended and was joined by his wife, Helga. The celebration also included Board Directors Bart Murphy and Craig Sullivan and Ireland Funds VP Development Marjorie Muldowney. Ian Casey was presented with the inaugural Ireland Funds’ Young Leadership Award.
Kieran McLoughlin spoke glowingly of Philip Grant’s time as Consul General which has been marked by a remarkable increase in economic links between Ireland and the Western United States. His extraordinary service to Ireland was recognized, particularly for his work on the Berkeley balcony collapse tragedy in 2015. Philip’s direct and tireless work to comfort and coordinate services for the affected families was noted. In accepting the Award, Philip Grant spoke fondly of his respect and admiration for the Irish in San Francisco and the bedrock of support that the community provides one another, thanking everyone for being such pillars of support during his term. He received a standing and emotional ovation filled with warm appreciation.
The Ireland Funds’ Young Leadership Award was given to Ian Casey of CVPartners. Bart Murphy described how Ian has been at the vanguard of building the San Francisco Young Leaders Program over the past five years, helping to grow membership of the Young Leaders Society through a myriad of events, as well as providing support for charitable programs in Ireland.
This Gala is the largest West Coast event of the 150+ events held globally by The Ireland Funds. The event was generously supported by Eileen Moore & Bart Murphy, Joan & Dave O’Reilly, Bill McMorrow of Kennedy Wilson, Brian & Olivia Gaynor-Long, Maureen & Craig Sullivan, and EJ Tracy of Tracy Industries. Key supporters included First Republic Bank, Colin Ryan of Goldman Sachs and Jenny & Michael Caulfield, as well as law firm Walkup, Melodia, Kelly and Schoenberger, University College Dublin (UCD), University of California Medical Center (UCSF), Betsy & Bill McKiernan, Kathleen Ryan, Mrs. Frank McGinnis and Enterprise Ireland. Special thanks to Mary & Tom Hunt, IDA Ireland, The Irish Technology Leadership Group and Pauline & John Ryan for their kind support. We’re also grateful to Mary & Steve Almassy, Sally Ann Flood & Michael Kenny, Nancy & Bill Murphy, The Alice Phelan Sullivan Corporation, Ann King & Steve Murphy, the Irish Cultural Center, and to Mary & Joe Toboni, Linda Burns, Maureen Barry and Dede Wilsey for their gifts.
After a convivial reception in the Colonial Room, also joined by Quincy – a magnificent Irish wolfhound – the San Francisco Irish Pipers Band began the formal part of the program with a rousing performance. They were joined by the Dillon Madh School of Irish Dance who delighted the crowd. Soloist Celine Kennelly gave a beautiful rendition of A Song for Ireland, accompanied by Mary McKeever and MC Joe Cunningham did an outstanding job of steering us through the program and auction. The evening wrapped up with lively dancing to Dick Bright’s Encore band.
Thank you to our sponsors who generously donated to the Exclusive Auction and Drawing: The Merrion Hotel, Ashford Castle, Dromoland Castle, Sheen Falls Lodge, Brian Sheehy of Future Bars, Janet & Pete Osborne at MOMO’S Restaurant, Cinta Gibbons at Cinta Salon, the St. Francis Hotel, Joey Nevin of The San Francisco Giants, DuMOL Wines, and Kathy Smith of Butler’s Chocolates