20th June, 2013

The Worldwide Ireland Funds Conference 2013

Event Video – 2 minute review of 3 very special days

Day One

The largest-ever assembly of supporters gathered for the 2013 Worldwide Ireland Funds Conference in Kildare. It was an important opportunity for donors to see first-hand the success and impact of The Ireland Funds Promising Ireland Campaign on Irish charities across Ireland and around the world.

A welcome lunch was held at the legendary K Club where the Conference was based. Supporters were welcomed by President & CEO Kieran McLoughlin who provided an overview of the three days to come. He introduced Young Leader and Chief Executive of the Gaelic Players Association Dessie Farrell and Chairman Hugo MacNeill of The Ireland Funds in Ireland. They both spoke about the importance of the Promising Ireland Campaign and the donors’ upcoming visits that afternoon to projects that had benefitted from the Campaign.

Supporters then broke into small groups that visited 12 projects in the Dublin area. The Belvedere Youth Club, the Esker Amateur Boxing Club, An Cosan, Trinity Access Programmes, Undergraduate Awards, Barnardos, Barretstown, Kids in the Kitchen, Fighting Words, Headstrong & Gaelic Players Association, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and the Irish Georgian Society showcased their work and difference that The Ireland Funds Promising Ireland Campaign had made.  Most importantly, it was an opportunity for donors to see the tremendous results of their philanthropy and relationships with The Ireland Funds. For the projects, it was a chance to extend their heartfelt thanks to donors.

The Conference then went to Áras An Uachtaráin, the home of the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins. Each guest was welcomed by President Higgins and his wife Sabina.  President Higgins addressed those gathered and congratulated The Worldwide Ireland Funds on what it has achieved for Ireland since its establishment in 1976. He announced that the Promising Ireland Campaign had an initial goal to raise $100 million but would in fact achieve $150 million by its close at the end of 2013.  The President noted that 1,200 charities across Ireland have benefited from the work of The Ireland Funds. It was a remarkable announcement that was enthusiastically received by the delegates representing many of the 12 countries where The Ireland Funds operate.

Day Two

Following a meeting of The American Ireland Fund Board of Directors, Kieran McLoughlin, President & CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds welcomed the delegates to the plenary session of the Conference where they discussed the state of The Ireland Funds and their future. He presented “relationship” as the theme of the plenary session, in particular the powerful relationship between the donors and Ireland.

Cillian Fennell, TV producer and story-teller, began the plenary with a reflection on the development of “Irishness” and the ties that bring the diaspora together. He applauded the care that The Ireland Funds and their donors demonstrated towards the island. He concluded by comparing them to the poets and artists of Ireland, pointing that philanthropy was the donors’ “paintbrush and poem” for changing and strengthening Ireland.

Kieran McLoughlin continued the plenary session by sharing a report on the state of the Fund over the past year, and urged donors to think of The Ireland Funds as an embodiment of “private giving for the public good.” He pointed to The Ireland Funds not as a charity, but as a community and a “fellowship focused on philanthropy.”  He recapped the success of The Promising Ireland Campaign because of the generosity of this community and reminded those gathered that 100% of funds raised were from private philanthropic sources at no cost to the taxpayer. Over 350 organizations across Ireland and around the world had benefitted from the Promising Ireland Campaign so far and donors should feel proud that one third of the organization’s total earnings had been achieved in the last five years.

Director Ireland Caitriona Fottrell presented on the deep needs of the nonprofit sector across Ireland. She highlighted the excellence of so many organizations in Ireland and how key the support of The Ireland Funds was to their success. She outlined the ways in which The Ireland Funds were helping from grant making to mentorship of organizations to identifying key areas of need and emerging leaders in the sector. The programs developed by The Ireland Funds such as No Mind Left Behind, The US Northern Ireland Mentorship Program, Music Generation and The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition are delivering positive outcomes to Ireland.
Pat Tully and Caitlin Duffy presented to the Young Leaders gathered at the Conference on the accomplishments of the Young Leaders Society over the past year and gave a city-by-city summary of what each chapter was doing. They covered events, recruiting, and the annual NYC Summit and its objectives. Pat shared suggestions that had been submitted by Young Leaders for new initiatives and made the announcement that the Young Leaders had now raised over $1 million in unrestricted income for the work of The Ireland Funds.

That evening, the Gala was held on the ground of the K Club. The evening’s guest of honor was An Taoiseach Enda Kenny who came to celebrate the Promising Ireland Campaign’s milestone accomplishment. An Taoiseach expressed his pride in the work of The Ireland Funds and the difference those in the room had made for Ireland at a most difficult time.  The night also marked the 41st Annual American Ireland Fund AWB Vincent Literary Award. Kieran McLoughlin used the occasion to recall the unique spirit of the late Billy Vincent for whom the award was named. Maryon Davies Lewis, longtime supporter of the Literary Award was present and Kieran thanked her for her generosity. Author Roddy Doyle – co-founder of Fighting Words, a creative writing centre for young people supported by The Ireland Funds – won the 2013 award. He spoke about the transformative power of writing for the thousands of children that had been reached by Fighting Words. He concluded by announcing to a standing ovation, that he would be giving his prize of 25,000 euro to Fighting Words to continue their work.

Co-founder of The Ireland Funds Dan Rooney took the podium to speak of Chairman Loretta Brennan Glucksman’s extraordinary role with The American Ireland Fund. He recounted stories of her grace and humor over the years and she was welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation from those gathered. Loretta gave a heartfelt and emotional thank you to Ireland Fund supporters for all they had accomplished during her period as Chairman. Kieran McLoughlin produced the surprise of the evening – a portrait of Loretta by the great Irish artist James Hanley. Hanley came to the stage to join his work and present Loretta this very special memento of her faithfulness to Ireland and to the work of The Ireland Funds. Loretta left the stage to a second standing ovation as supporters recognized her final Ireland Funds Conference in the role of Chairman.

The evening continued back at the K-Club with an after-party that went until the early morning hours. It was filled with song, camaraderie and the craic that is a hallmark at The Ireland Funds Annual Conference.

Day Three

The final day of the Conference allowed supporters to enjoy time together in this beautiful area of Ireland. Groups visited Russborough House, considered the best example of Palladian architecture and the historic home of Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, for private tours and lunch. This was followed by a tour of Ireland’s National Stud and Japanese Gardens where they learned about Ireland’s grand tradition of raising some of the best racehorses in the world.

Another group golfed the legendary course at the K Club. It was “Ireland vs. the rest of the world” and at the end of a day that showcased every type of Irish weather from pouring rain to brilliant sunshine, the Irish team came out on top but with all golfers smiling.
The Conference came to its official close with a celebration at the restored historic village at Lyon on the banks of the Grand Canal. Supporters reconvened for a final evening together and the highlight of the evening was pausing to remember once again the compassion and style of longtime Ireland Funds supporter, the late AWB Vincent. Kieran McLoughlin, Dr. Maurice Hayes, Bill Cullen and finally Loretta Brennan Glucksman each spoke movingly of their memories of “Billy” and his legacy to Ireland and The Ireland Funds.
Supporters left Kildare with a renewed understanding of their relationship to Ireland and the role that The Ireland Funds play in facilitating that relationship.  The three days in Kildare strengthened the global Irish making a difference together.





Thursday June 20th, 2013

President Michael D. Higgins congratulates The Ireland Funds on its achievements over many years

Hosting a reception this evening at Aras an Uachtarain, President Michael D. Higgins congratulated The Worldwide Ireland Funds on what it has achieved for Ireland since its establishment in 1976. Its most recent initiative, the Promising Ireland Campaign, had an initial goal to raise $100 million but will in fact achieve $150 million by its close at the end of this year.  The President noted that 1,200 charities across Ireland have benefited from the work of The Ireland Funds.

The 200 guests at the reception included leading donors and philanthropists from many of the 12 countries in which the Funds operate; all are attending the Funds’ Annual Conference which takes place this weekend at the K Club, Co. Kildare. During the conference they will consider next steps in light of the outcome of the Promising Ireland Campaign which, in the last five years, has raised one third of the Funds’ total contributions since it was founded 37 years ago.

The delegation was led by outgoing Chairman of The American Ireland Fund, Loretta Brennan Glucksman; Chairman Elect, John Fitzpatrick and the Funds’ Founder, Dan Rooney.

Commenting, Kieran McLoughlin, President and CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds, said, ‘The fact that the Promising Ireland Campaign will exceed its original goal by 50% in such a difficult economic climate is a remarkable testament to the generosity of our donors. Philanthropy is the use of private wealth to support the public good.  At a time when public funding sources are under such pressure, the role of philanthropy has never been more important.‘

Founded in the US in 1976 and now operating in 12 countries, The Worldwide Ireland Funds have raised over $450 million since foundation benefitting some 1,200 Irish charities.

The Funds generate private philanthropic donations to support projects in Ireland that promote education, cultural and community development and peace & reconciliation projects across the island of Ireland. All of the monies The Ireland Funds raise are contributed by private philanthropists at no cost to the taxpayer and represent a net contribution to Irish charities.


In the Media

+ The Independent ++ Terry’s star turn shows the triumph of Ireland Fund

23rd June, 2013
Rich diaspora helping the poor is a winning formula, says Ruth Dudley Edwards. Sir Terry Wogan, a founder member of the Ireland Fund of Great Britain (IFGB), was the star speaker on Friday night at the celebration at the Reform Club of its 25th anniversary.
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+ Irish Central ++ Tributes paid to Loretta Brennan Glucksman as she steps down from Ireland Fund

23rd June, 2013
Eloquent tributes were paid to departing Chairman of the Worldwide Ireland Funds Loretta Brennan Glucksman at the organization’s annual Irish conference at the K Club in Kildare on Friday evening. She will step aside at the end of this year.
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+ RTE ++ Radio Interview: Marian talks to Loretta Brennan Glucksman, outgoing chairman of The American Ireland Fund about her marriages, life and philanthropic work.

23rd June, 2013
Interview: Marian talks to Loretta Brennan Glucksman, outgoing chairman of the American Ireland Fund about her marriages, life and philanthropic work.
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+ Irish Times ++ Memories of childhood play role in helping London’s elderly Irish

23rd June, 2013
London Letter: sometimes it is the simple things that can spark memories
Sods of turf, camphorated oil, or the sight and smell of an old oil lamp can evoke memories of home for a generation of elderly Irish emigrants living in London, now suffering some form of dementia or memory loss.
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+ The Independent ++ ‘Charities have to fundraise and not be fund receivers’

22nd June, 2013
Veteran fundraiser Loretta Brennan Glucksman joins philanthropists in the K Club
SOME of Ireland’s biggest philanthropists are gathering in the K Club today – and none of them are Irish.
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+ The Irish Times ++ Donors to The Ireland Funds visit Irish charities to which they donate

21st June, 2013
President Michael D Higgins announces that the Promising Ireland Campaign will have raised $150 million by the year’s end.
Posters crowd the walls of the computer room of the Belvedere Youth Club in Dublin’s inner city, warning the kids that food and drink are banned and to keep their feet off the hard drives.
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+ Irish Central ++ President Michael D. Higgins announces Ireland Fund surpassed fundraising record

21st June, 2013
$150 million by year’s end now the new goal for Promising Ireland campaign
Irish President Michael D. Higgins has announced that the Ireland Funds have set a new goal of $150 million for their Promising Ireland campaign after having smashed through the original $100 million target.
The president was hosting a reception for the Fund at Aras an Uachtarain.

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+ Irish Central ++ Major challenges as Ireland Funds gather in Ireland for annual conference

17th June, 2013
17th June, 2013 – Over 200 business leaders from the United States and hundreds of others will be in attendance at the K Club in Kildare this weekend attending the Worldwide Ireland Funds annual conference. Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected while President Michael D. Higgins will host a special reception on Thursday evening.

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