Dear Fellow Donors, As Chairman, I was so saddened by the passing of our former Chairmen in Ireland and Great Britain, respectively Maurice Hayes and Peter Sutherland and of our great and longstanding Board Member, Craig Sullivan of San Francisco. They helped form The Ireland Funds as it is today. Over decades of involvement and generosity they guided us so brilliantly in our grant making, in growing our chapters and extending our supporters. Our sadness at their passing is eased when we think of the great difference that they made and the example they gave us. Their collective wisdom and insights help drive us forward today. We have much to do and indeed a great deal underway. We are now hosting a record number of events in a record number of cities which you will read about in this edition and most importantly of course we are supporting a great number of projects through you more generously than ever before. I draw your attention in particular to the coverage of the National College of Ireland’s Early Learning Initiative and Cinemagic in this edition of Connect. Both are examples of your generosity having a true impact on Ireland’s next generation. As a donor myself, I cannot overstate the value that The Ireland Funds brings, not only highlighting where need is greatest but most importantly where response to that need is best. The Ireland Funds oper- ates the “Gold Standard” in terms of identifying, analyzing and assessing prospective projects for grants. We use our discretionary income to seed individual projects, nurture them and bring out their full potential. Those projects that show the greatest promise and impact are then brought to you, our donors, for your consideration for individual support. This process has allowed us to invest in our Flagship Projects upon which a report can be found on page 48. These projects have of course received great subsequent support from many of our donors from across the world—deservedly so given the great difference they are making. Today, The Ireland Funds is a major source of philanthropic support for so many exceptional projects. The people driving these projects are energetic, imaginative and courageous. They are true “social entrepreneurs” using the best and most effective practices to serve the public good. They are inspiring people to work with. I would urge you to visit Ireland and allow us to introduce you to these projects so that you can see your money at work and the great difference it is making. You will encounter people transforming lives and communities by creating solutions and opportunity. It is in the spirit of your generosity and desire to improve Ireland and Irish communities that we dedicate this edition of Connect to the memory of Maurice, Peter and Craig. Kind regards. John Fitzpatrick Chairman, The Ireland Funds America Connect SPRING / SUMMER / 2018 connect 2018 • 3