The American Ireland Fund hosted its 23rd Annual National Gala on Monday evening, March 16, 2015 at The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The American Ireland Fund recognized Thomas J. Donohue, President & Chief Executive Officer of The United States Chamber of Commerce, with The American Ireland Fund Humanitarian and Leadership Award. The award was in recognition of Mr. Donohue’s dedication to addressing the community’s challenges such as disease, poverty, joblessness and a responsibility to veterans returning from service abroad.
The American Ireland Fund also recognized Senator Richard Durbin & Congressman Thomas J. Rooney with The American Ireland Fund Leadership Award for their service and continued interest and support for Ireland, North and South.
John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of The American Ireland Fund and Kieran McLoughlin, President & CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds, took to the podium and welcomed Gala Chairs, Irish and Irish American leaders, leaders in business, the media and the arts at the event. In attendance were Honorary Chairs Anne Anderson, Irish Ambassador to the United States; Kevin O’Malley, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland and Sir Peter Westmacott, British Ambassador to the United States.
Honorary Congressional Chairs in attendance were Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Patrick Toomey, Cong. Peter King and Cong. Richard Neal.
The Gala featured a keynote address by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D., Prime Minister of Ireland and Honorary Patron of the evening’s Gala.
The Taoiseach spoke of his visit to Washington DC as a “fantastic opportunity for us all to celebrate Irish culture and heritage,” and updated those gathered on Ireland’s ongoing economic recovery and renewal. He praised The Ireland Funds and their work as “the benchmark for any organisation seeking to work with a diaspora,” and he cited the vital work as “an exemplar of what can and is being done by our diaspora for our country.”
The evening was a true celebration of Irish culture and heritage and supported The Ireland Funds Promising Ireland Campaign which has assisted over 650 outstanding organizations and causes to date.