The American Ireland Fund raised a record $40 million last year (€28 million) for Irish charities, the chief executive of the organization confirmed on Friday.

Kieran McLoughlin told the Irish Times that funds raised in 2010 were almost a four-fold increase on the amount raised in 2009, giving the philanthropic organization its most successful year to date. He said the $40 million raised last year was distributed to 200 Irish charities.

This weekend, the organization is holding its annual conference in Dromoland Castle, Co Clare.  President Mary McAleese attended the fund’s gala evening at the castle Friday night. The conference is being attended by almost 200 donors and supporters from the US, Britain, Australia, France, Canada, China, Singapore and Ireland.

McLoughlin, who has been in his role since January 2010 and also serves as president of the organization, said the fund was on target to match last year’s record as it had already raised $20 million this year.

The fund is currently promoting its Promising Ireland campaign to raise $100 million by December 2013 for Irish charities. He said the fund had already raised $70 million towards this and was not yet half way through the campaign.

McLoughlin said that 2009 was the worst year for philanthropy in the U.S. since records began, with donations down by 84 percent.

“Only 12 per cent of charities made a surplus in 2009 and happily we were one of them,” he said.

“Irish Americans are giving all the more generously, which is a response to the circumstances we are in.”

McLoughlin said $50 million of the $70 million had been raised from donors, with the remaining $20 million raised from events and other activities. He added that the fund raised $3 million in one night this year through its New York gala dinner event.