The Ireland Funds hosted the 2023 Texas Emerald Ball on Saturday, March 18 at the historic Adolphus Hotel in downtown Dallas. Opening the evening’s program was a lively performance by the local Maguire Academy of Irish Dance. Caitriona Fottrell, President and CEO of The Ireland Funds, welcomed everyone, inviting them to ‘Come for the party, and stay for the mission.’
Special program guests included Minister for Sport Thomas Byrne, T.D., Consul General Robert Hull, Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly, and Gary Kelly, Exec. Chairman of Southwest Airlines along with Board Members Tom Codd and Kevin Curley. Honorary Chairs of the Gala, Mary Lee and Fritz Duda, were also in attendance with a tableful of guests.
The evening granted two awards to three deserving individuals. The Corboy Anam Cara Award (Gaelic for ‘soul friends’), is given to those who have exhibited outstanding support of The Ireland Funds. It was awarded to Sylvia and John Tillotson. John served previously on the Board of Directors and, together with Sylvia, has supported the Texas Chapter since its inception nearly 25 years ago.
Sean Donohue, CEO – DFW International Airport, received the Distinguished Business Leader Award. Introduced by Gary Kelly, a former award recipient and ‘fellow Irishman,’ Sean thanked the guests and his family. ‘As I live my life, I try to take my cue from Susan [my wife] who I believe exemplifies the best of Ireland: grace, beauty, humility and always thinking of others before yourself.’
Closing the program was a performance by Chloë Agnew, Irish singer and songwriter. The party continued until nearly midnight with a post-reception including Irish coffee, good whiskey, and many friends new and old.
Special thanks to our sponsors:
Platinum – Mary Lee and Fritz Duda; and Suffolk Cares Foundation (Suffolk Construction)
Gold – Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
Silver – Aer Lingus, American Airlines, Thomas W. Codd, Kevin Curley and Darina O’Dowd, HNTB Corporation, Southwest Airlines, Sylvia and John Tillotson, and Tillotson Johnson & Patton
Bronze – AECoM, Atmos Energy Corporation, Alan and Maureen Cooper, Carla Fonts, Barbara and Ed Garahan, IDA Ireland, Dolores McCall, Linda and Tom McCarthy, and RM Chin & Associates