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Ireland Funds gala raises over $2.3 million

Pictured (l-r) at the Ireland Funds gala are: Kyle Clifford, Vice President of Development of The Ireland Funds America; Caitriona Fottrell, The Ireland Funds Vice President and Director, Ireland; Honoree Eileen K. Murray, Co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates LP; Honoree Ronan Dunne, Executive Vice President an; President of Verizon Consumer Group; Honoree Saoirse Ronan, Academy Award Nominated Actor, and John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of The Ireland Funds America. Photo by Michael Nagle.


By Irish Echo Staff

Over 900 guests from the spheres of business, the arts and politics came together on Thursday, May 2 to support the largest of the 150 global events held each year by The Ireland Funds.

The New York gathering raised over $2.3 million. Over the course of its 44-year history, the event has raised over $65 million in support of Irish charities and causes. The Ireland Funds is the largest private grant-maker to the not-for-profit sector in Ireland.

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This year, three-time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan was honored by The Ireland Funds with its 2019 Performing Arts Award in recognition of her prolific work on stage and in films.

Also recognized on the evening was Ronan Dunne, Executive Vice President and President of Verizon Consumer Group, the largest division of Verizon Communications. He received the 2019 Corporate Leadership Award in recognition of his leadership in business and philanthropy.

Eileen K. Murray received the 2019 Leslie C. Quick Jr. Leadership Award which annually recognizes a person of outstanding character and business acumen and she is the first woman to receive the award.

Murray is currently Co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates, LP and has held senior leadership roles at Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and numerous other leading companies within the financial sector.

"Tonight's Gala is such a testament to the unwavering bonds between New York and Ireland," said John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of The Ireland Funds America.

"This annual gathering is so much more than just a celebration. It is a chance for our supporters to express their care for Ireland through philanthropic partnership with The Ireland Funds. Thanks to them, we are able to identify and invest in outstanding Irish organizations that strengthen the island of Ireland. We are immensely grateful to our supporters and tonight is a great opportunity to say thank you.”

In a message sent to those attending the Gala, Irish President Michael D. Higgins said; “The Ireland Funds, by harnessing the power and goodwill of the Irish diaspora, enables donors to connect with innovative charitable giving opportunities that impact and transform society. I thank you for the work you do, which is making a real difference to the lives of people on the ground, and which gives back to Ireland in a meaningful and lasting way.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also greeted those gathered saying in a video message: “The Irish government greatly appreciates the continued generosity of The Ireland Funds. For over 44 consecutive years, this event has raised more than $65 million benefiting thousands of cross-community projects on the island of Ireland. It is a tangible demonstration of your commitment to peace and reconciliation, North and South. A commitment that continues to make a phenomenal difference in the lives of so many people.”

Notable guests at the 2019 Gala included Ciarán Madden, Ireland’s Consul General; Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Norman Houston, Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau.

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