June 20 - 22, 2024

The Ireland Funds Worldwide Conference 2024

The Ireland Funds Worldwide Conference 2024

Donors from around the globe attended The Ireland Funds Worldwide Conference in Co Cork Ireland. The three-day conference was a chance to connect, collaborate and continue to build on our mission of vital support for many wonderful organizations across the island.

The gathering began with a warm welcome from Caitriona Fottrell, President & CEO of The Ireland Funds along with Chairman of The Ireland Funds Singapore Dr. Stanley Quek and local Jim Barry. The morning was a chance for donors to see first-hand the impact of their philanthropy as they met with projects benefitting directly from The Ireland Funds’ investment including Sailing into Wellness, Narrative 4, Dogs for the Disabled, the Crann Centre, Cork Penny Dinners, Barnardos, Music Generation and Good Shepherd Cork.

That evening, donors went to The Glucksman on the campus of University College Cork. The Glucksman, the award-winning art gallery that is the namesake of The Ireland Funds America Chair Emerita Loretta Brennan Glucksman, was marking its 20th anniversary on the campus. Guests were welcomed by University College Cork President John O’Halloran, Executive Director of The Ireland Funds Siobhan Gallagher, and The Ireland Funds America Vice Chair Angela Moore. The evening was a celebration of the life of Sir Anthony “Tony” O’Reilly, Co-founder of The Ireland Funds. Poignant reflections on Tony’s life and contributions were offered by Loretta Brennan Glucksman and former Worldwide CEO of The Ireland Funds, Kingsley Aikins; both of whom had worked closely with Tony. Guests enjoyed a musical performance of the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and the Blackwater Valley Opera Tenors: Sean Tester, Conor Prendiville, and Patrick Hyland, before returning to Castlemartyr.

The day’s Plenary Session at Ballymaloe Grainstore was a chance for donors to hear diverse perspectives on Ireland and its challenges and opportunities. The group was addressed by Gary McGann, Chair of The Ireland Funds in Ireland; John Concannon DG of Global Ireland (and soon-to-be Ambassador of Ireland to Canada); Caitriona Fottrell, President & CEO of The Ireland Funds, and Gene McQuade, Chair of The Ireland Funds America. Siobhán Gallagher, Executive Director of The Ireland Funds moderated a panel of representatives from projects funded by The Ireland Funds that included Emma Shaw, CEO of the Phoenix Education Centre; Graham Clifford, Founder and Head of International Development, Sanctuary Runners; Ruadhán Ó Críodáin, Executive Director of ShoutOut; and Sister Helen Culhane, Founder of the Children’s Grief Centre.A global Irish perspective was discussed by a panel that was moderated by Ireland Funds Australia Director Ray Wilson and consisted of global Board members and Chairs including Bridget Walsh (IFGB), Yvonne Le Bas (IF Australia), Bart Murphy (Ireland Funds America), and Amy Roberti (Ireland Funds America).

The evening’s Conference Gala was a highlight of the Conference as donors, supporters and friends of The Ireland Funds gathered. They heard a keynote speech by Taoiseach Simon Harris who was attending his first Ireland Funds’ event in his new role. The Taoiseach spoke of the special role The Ireland Funds had in fostering opportunity across the island as a global philanthropic network of friends of Ireland. He acknowledged the great gift made to the island of Ireland by the late Sir Anthony O’Reilly in Co-founding The Ireland Funds in 1976. The event concluded with mesmerizing musical performances by Lisa Hannigan and pianist Jamie Duffy.

The Ireland Funds Worldwide Conference final day was an opportunity to showcase the beauty and culture of the local area. Attendees fanned out to visit Ballyvolane House, the pottery studio of celebrated ceramicist Stephen Pearce, and the famed links golf course of Old Head.

The three days in Cork were a key opportunity to see The Ireland Funds’ impactful investment in the work of nonprofit organizations. Most importantly, it was a chance to thank donors and friends from around the world for their ongoing commitment to the philanthropic mission of The Ireland Funds and to look ahead to the organization’s 50th anniversary in 2026.

Photos: Aengus McMahon, Adrian O’Herlihy, John Allen, Niall Barry


Nicki Lynch

Head of Operations

The Ireland Funds Ireland

Denshaw House, 121-122 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2, Ireland

T - +353-1-662-7878

E - nlynch@irelandfunds.org

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