The American Ireland Fund hosted its 41st Annual New York Dinner Gala on Thursday evening, May 5, 2016 in New York City and featured a record attendance of 1,200 leading Irish Americans.

The event on May 5 exceeded its target and raised a total of $2.7 million for the support of hundreds of Irish charities and causes. The Gala is the largest of the 150+ events held globally by The Ireland Funds.

Adam Clayton of U2 joined supporters of The Ireland Funds on the night to celebrate the successful Music Generation program which was first launched in the US at The American Ireland Fund New York Dinner Gala in 2010.

“We in U2 benefited from access to musical education – it transformed our lives,” said Adam Clayton. “We want the same opportunities for young people across Ireland. Music Generation is achieving this beyond anyone’s imagination. We are delighted that The Ireland Funds have joined us in committing to extending the programme.

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Clayton also had a warm welcome to the news that the Stavros Niarchos Foundation which was represented at the dinner had made a special contribution.

“The news tonight that the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will make a gift of $1 million is a huge boost and will benefit young people across Ireland.”

“Tonight’s dinner proves the enduring and generous commitment of the diaspora to Ireland,” said Kieran McLoughlin, President & CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds. “Our supporters personify the spirit of philanthropy which is providing private resources for the public good. The Dinner is a demonstration of how affection for Ireland is translated into real and substantial support.”

“I am absolutely delighted to see that tonight’s dinner has been such a huge success,” said John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of The American Ireland Fund. “Our leadership, committed members and supportive guests always seem to come together to champion great causes in Ireland with incredible passion and generosity. They really understand that this is all about making a difference in people’s lives.”

Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education Program which transforms the lives of children and young people through access to high quality, subsidized performance music education. Initiated by Music Network, Music Generation is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, The Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.

In 2015, U2 and The Ireland Funds – who together gifted a $10m in 2010 to launch the initiative – are donating a further $3.5million to the program to develop its next phase. Already, Music Generation is established in 12 areas of Ireland, providing access to music education for some 35,000 children and young people annually and creating 350 employment opportunities.

Announced during the event was an additional $1 million gift to Music Generation from The Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Members of the Stavros Niarchos family were in attendance and several young musicians who have benefited from Music Generation attended the Gala and performed moving pieces using traditional Irish instruments.

The American Ireland Fund New York Dinner Gala recognized Mike McGavick, CEO of XL Group plc with The Leslie C. Quick Jr Leadership Award for his company’s investment in Ireland and his philanthropic endeavors.

Over 1,000 guests from the spheres of business, the arts and politics attended the Gala at Chelsea Piers – Pier Sixty. The 2016 American Ireland Fund New York Dinner Gala was chaired by Eugene McQuade, Chairman of XL Group plc and William J. Mills, CEO North America of Citi.

For more information on The Ireland Funds and a listing of organizations that have received support, visit and follow #AIFNYGala.

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