Irish President Michael D. Higgins has announced that the Ireland Funds have set a new goal of $150 million for their Promising Ireland  campaign after having smashed through the original $100 million target.

The president was hosting a reception for the Fund at Aras an Uachtarain.

He congratulated The Worldwide Ireland Funds on what it has achieved for Ireland since its establishment in 1976. The President noted that 1,200 charities across Ireland have benefited from the work of The Ireland Funds.

The 200 guests at the reception included leading donors and philanthropists from many of the 12 countries in which the Funds operate; all are attending the Funds’ Annual Conference which takes place this weekend at the K Club, Co. Kildare. During the conference they will consider next steps in light of the outcome of the Promising Ireland Campaign which, in the last five years, has raised one third of the Funds’ total contributions since it was founded 37 years ago.

The delegation was led by outgoing Chairman of The American Ireland Fund, Loretta Brennan Glucksman; Chairman Elect, John Fitzpatrick and the Funds’ Founder, Dan Rooney.

Commenting, Kieran McLoughlin, President and CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds, said, ‘The fact that the Promising Ireland Campaign will exceed its original goal by 50% in such a difficult economic climate is a remarkable testament to the generosity of our donors. Philanthropy is the use of private wealth to support the public good. At a time when public funding sources are under such pressure, the role of philanthropy has never been more important.‘

Founded in the US in 1976 and now operating in 12 countries, The Worldwide Ireland Funds have raised over $450 million since, benefitting some 1,200 Irish charities.

The Funds generate private philanthropic donations to support projects in Ireland that promote education, cultural and community development and peace & reconciliation projects across the island of Ireland. All of the monies The Ireland Funds raise are contributed by private philanthropists at no cost to the taxpayer and represent a net contribution to Irish charities.