The Irish American fund is increasing its efforts to support more than 300 initiatives across Ireland during the economic crisis, with the aim to raise $1m a month.

The Promising Ireland fund was launched with the initial goal of raising $100m at the beginning of the year. However, according to Kieran McLoughlin, president and chief executive of American Ireland, the response was so great that the fund has increased the target to $140m.

"As of this [Friday] morning we’ve agreed a new goal for Dec 2013," he said, according to the Irish Examiner.

"The new goal of $140m requires us to raise $1m a month, every month for the next 18 months. Our money is privately sourced so that is philanthropic giving from donors across the world. Not a penny of public money is in there."

The new Promising Ireland fund would account for nearly 30% of the $432m the fund has raised for Irish projects since it was founded in 1976, according to McLoughlin.

"In other words, over a quarter of our entire income has been raised in a 10th of our history. Already the Promising Ireland campaign has provided support to more than 350 charities in Ireland," he said.

According to The Irish American Fund's Catriona Fottrell, the need from charities has increased as the recession hits public funds with the number of applicants increasing from 600 in 2011 to 1,000 this year so far.

Kieran McLoughlin and Loretta Gluckman, from the Irish American Fund with President of Ireland, Michael D HigginsSasha Gitin