Dear Donors and Friends, To everything there is a season. As we bade farewell to 2017 and entered 2018, we in the family of The Ireland Funds lost three giants. Maurice Hayes, former Chairman in Ireland; Peter Sutherland, former Chairman in Great Britain and Founding Board Member in San Francisco, Craig Sullivan. They are memorialized on pages 50 to 54 of this issue of Connect. All three made enormous contributions to Ireland, Ireland’s diaspora and of course, The Ireland Funds. They helped lay the foundations for the growth of our organization and constantly kept us in touch with our core values. Maurice reminded us of the imperative of peace. Peter reminded us that we are a migrant people and should always remember our less fortunate fellow compatriots. Craig reminded us that great success brings great responsibility. As we reflect on these lions and how they led us through our history, we look to our future, especially that of our Young Leaders. All three men took a great interest in and were very proud of this next generation of leadership and equally, our Young Leaders were inspired by the three of them. The organization that they played such a crucial part in building is now growing with great ambi- tion for its future. Their legacy is the vibrancy of The Ireland Funds. Last year we held a record number of events and we saw great growth across the world. We had the honor of welcoming President Higgins to an event in Australia and we reincorporated our chapter in Japan. We are also seeing a strengthening of our Boards with new Board Members joining us again in chapters around the world. We are particularly pleased that former President of Ireland Mary McAleese is joining our Board of Directors in Ireland. She will bring huge experience, insights and prestige to our organization. Most importantly of course we supported a record number of projects. You can read of such special projects on pages 10-49. All of this is made possible through your great generosity. You made 2017 one of the most successful in our history. In the spirit of Maurice, Peter and Craig, we thank you for your extraordinary generosity and congratulate you for the great benefit you bring to Ireland and to Irish communities worldwide. Kind regards, Kieran McLoughlin Worldwide President & CEO, The Ireland Funds Connect SPRING / SUMMER / 2018 connect 2018 • 5