The American Ireland Fund hosted its milestone 40th Annual New York Dinner Gala on Thursday evening, May 7, 2015 in New York City and raised a record $4.3 million.
The Ireland Funds were founded in 1976 by Sir Anthony O’Reilly and Ambassador Dan Rooney at an inaugural dinner held in New York City. Four decades later, the New York Dinner Gala has now raised over $50 million of support for the philanthropic work of The American Ireland Fund. Co-Founder Dan Rooney spoke at this year's dinner; also in attendance were Ireland's Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan and Ireland's Ambassador to the US Anne Anderson.
The May 7 event established the 2015 New York Gala as the most successful Gala ever in the event’s 40 year history.
“Tonight, we celebrate the vision and courage of Tony O’Reilly and Dan Rooney in establishing the Fund at our very first New York dinner in May 1976, said Kieran McLoughlin, President & CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds. “Just as the honoree that first night was a relatively unknown Irish Senator named Mary Robinson who went on to become President of Ireland, that pioneering dinner was the seed for the Fund to become one of Ireland’s largest private grant makers. Despite all the changes and challenges of the last four decades, the mission Tony and Dan set out that night to strengthen the island of Ireland, remains as relevant and as necessary as ever.”
The American Ireland Fund New York Dinner Gala recognized The Leslie C. and Regina Quick, Jr. Family with its Bird and Bell Award for their extraordinary commitment and philanthropic work across Ireland and beyond. Past recipients of the Bird and Bell Award have included Seamus Heaney, Liam Neeson and President Mary McAleese. In addition, special guest Senator George Mitchell was recognized for his distinguished career advancing peace around the world and in particular, for his role in leading the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland that resulted in the Good Friday Agreement.
Over 1,000 guests from the spheres of business, the arts and politics attended the Gala at the Grand Hyatt New York at Grand Central. It is the largest of the 100 global events hosted annually by The Worldwide Ireland Funds. The 2015 American Ireland Fund New York Dinner Gala was chaired by Robert J. McCann, President Americas, UBS AG. The event celebrated Irish culture and heritage and generated much-needed funds for The Worldwide Ireland Funds’ Promising Ireland Campaign which has assisted over 650 Irish charities to-date.
For more information on the Promising Ireland Campaign and a listing of organizations that have received support, visit www.theirelandfunds.org