12th March, 2009

St. Patrick’s Celebration

On Thursday, March 12th, The American Ireland Fund Young Leaders hosted their annual St. Patrick’s Celebration at Cipriani Wall Street.  Boasting the largest crowd in its history, the event included live and silent auctions, a raffle for a luxury trip to Ireland and the presentation of awards to CNBC’s Margaret Brennan and New York Giant Shaun O’Hara, two of the most noted and successful Irish-American figures today.  Presided over by AIF Chairman Loretta Brennan Glucksman, the St. Patrick’s Celebration’s success was all the more significant given the challenging economic conditions.

This year Margaret Brennan and Shaun O’Hara were honored with awards for their respective fields.  Brennan, a General Assignment Reporter for CNBC and a championship Irish step dancer was the recipient of the Young Leaders Irish Spirit Award, while O’Hara, a center for the New York Giants, received the inaugural Young Leaders Irish Athletics Award.  Speaking eloquently about their respective experiences growing up in Irish-American households and their careers, projects and commitments, Margaret and Shaun are the embodiment of what it is to be a Young Leader.

Young Leader of the year Pat Tully auctioned off two valuable Giants tickets packages in his signature spirited style.  Following the Giants auction, attendees sang along to U2 tribute band The Unforgettable Fire, whose set included U2 hits both new and old.  Capping off the evening were live auctions of exclusive packages for trips to Dunmahon House in County Cork, Irish Derby weekend in Wicklow, Doonbeg Golf & Spa Resort in County Clare and a week in Palm City, Florida. Long-time AIF supporter Anthony Callaghan was the lucky winner of the raffle trip to Dublin.  After the festivities at Cipriani, guests adjourned to neighboring pubs Beckett’s and Stone Street Tavern for the afterparty.

Under the leadership of St. Patrick’s Celebration Co-Chairs Kara Duffy, Tom Kennedy and Rob MacGoey, the event raised funds for various charitable causes both here and in Ireland.  Keeping in mind the plight of the Forgotten Irish, an elderly generation of Irish and Irish Americans struggling with poverty and isolation in their communities, the Co-Chairs drove this Celebration to be the biggest and best ever in New York City.  The St. Patrick’s Celebration was the occasion for the Young Leaders to reach their goal of raising $1 million a full year early.  Defying all expectations in testing and unstable economic times, the 2009 Young Leaders St. Patrick’s Celebration was an unmitigated success.  We would like to thank all our sponsors, including Michael Collins, Invest Northern Ireland, PricewaterhouseCoopers, McSorley’s, Bridge Street Worldwide, AXA, McSorley’s, Permal, Kennedy Computer Consulting, InterBev and Stone Street Tavern.

Paving the way for the future of The American Ireland Fund, the New York Young Leaders is a key program attracting young, energetic individuals wishing to cultivate an authentic connection with their heritage, while channeling their philanthropic efforts to Ireland’s advantage.