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Partnership extends an all-Ireland helping hand

By Irish Echo Staff

The Irish American Partnership has disbursed $170,000 to education and community programs in Ireland, north and south.

The programs, said a release, were selected for their transformative impact on students, schools, and communities across the island of Ireland.

The IAP disbursed $120,000 to education and community development programs in the Republic of Ireland and $55,000 to education and cross-community initiatives in Northern Ireland.

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The grants, fifteen in total, were announced during the IAP’s recent biennial leadership mission.

Chief Executive Mary Sugrue said: “The leadership mission is an invaluable opportunity for us to evaluate our program funding and demonstrate the Partnership’s transformative work in education and community development to our board members and loyal supporters.”

Grants of $20,000 each were given to the RDS Primary Science Fair and Dublin City University for science education.

The Partnership has been supporting the RDS Primary Science Fairs since their inception, and has been instrumental in their expansion from Dublin to Limerick and Belfast, stated the release.

Further promoting science education, the Partnership granted $10,000 to Mary Immaculate College for science teacher training and $5,000 to the Mallow Development Partnership for the Munster Maths and Science Fair.

The Partnership also presented a gift of $25,000 to Board member Dave Greaney’s former secondary school, Thomond Community College in Limerick, as well as grants of $2,500 to Convent Primary School in County Clare, and Dromore National School in Clounty Cork.

In an effort to make third level education affordable for all, the Partnership gave $40,000 to university access programs at Dublin City University, Trinity College, University of Ulster, and Queen’s University.

Access scholarships, according to the IAP release, target historically underrepresented student populations, guaranteeing that modern Irish universities have a student body that is as richly diverse as the country itself.

“Most access scholarship recipients would not be able to attend college without financial support, so the grants are crucial in ensuring equal opportunity for all Irish students to receive a college education.”

To address Ireland’s structural unemployment problem, the Partnership presented its annual grant of $10,000 to Focusing on IT (FIT).

Founded by former bricklayer Peter Davitt, who witnessed first-hand the decline of traditional blue collar employment, FIT has been one of Ireland’s most innovative job retraining programs.

Its core mission is to promote an inclusive “Smart Economy” for people at risk in Ireland’s labor market.

This year, the Partnership sponsored FIT’s 2018 technology skills audit, which identified the core competencies demanded by technology companies operating in Ireland. FIT will use this knowledge to tailor its training programs, ensuring that its trainees emerge fully prepared to excel in the current job market.

Finally, said the release, leadership mission participants spent a day in Belfast reviewing Partnership programs in Northern Ireland. During this time, they disbursed university access grants to Ulster and Queen’s Universities, direct grants to Holy Rosary Primary School (a Catholic Maintained school), Botanic Primary School (a Controlled school), and the Integrated Education Fund, and cross-community development grants to 174 Trust and Youth Link Northern Ireland.

Youth Link is the largest provider of accredited training for volunteer and part-time youth practitioners and young people in Northern Ireland. For the past three years, the Partnership funded three students’ studies towards a BA Honors Degree in Youth and Community Work and Practical Theology through Youth Link Northern Ireland, and will support a new cohort this year.

174 Trust is a nondenominational Christian organization serving primarily North Belfast. Their mission is to build a strong, just, and peaceful society by fostering open dialogue and providing vital social services to those most at need. The Partnership has been supporting their efforts to bring communities together for over a decade.

Founded in 1987, the Boston-based Irish American Partnership has been working to empower the next generation of Irish leaders by supporting educational initiatives and community development for over thirty years.

In this time, the Partnership has given over $30 million to programs in Ireland North and South, disbursing 400 direct grants to schools, providing over 50 scholarships to Irish universities, funding science teacher training at 80 schools, and supporting job retraining programs.