The American Ireland Fund will host its 21st Annual National Gala on Monday evening, March 18, 2013 featuring a keynote address by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D., Prime Minister of Ireland.

At the evening’s Gala, over 750 influential American and Irish political and corporate leaders will gather at the event to honor U.S. Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) as they are presented with the 2013 American Ireland Fund Leadership Award. In addition, Ambassador Daniel Rooney (former United States Ambassador to Ireland) and Ambassador Michael Collins (Ambassador of Ireland to the United States) will receive The American Ireland Fund Public Service Award for their contributions to Ireland and Irish-America. In attendance will be Gala Chair Mark H. Tuohey and Honorary Chairs of the Gala: Sir Peter Westmacott, British Ambassador to U.S.; Hon. Peter T. King and Hon. Richard E. Neal. A special musical performance will feature Sir. James Galway.

Kieran McLoughlin, President & CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds said, “Over the last two weeks, starting in Chicago and culminating tonight in Washington DC, our supporters have turned out in force and with great generosity. As a result, our Promising Ireland Campaign is on track to reach its revised goal of $140 million for hundreds of Irish charities in need. At a still-difficult time in the US, it is remarkable how our donors are responding and willing to play their part in aiding Ireland’s recovery."

As St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world, The Worldwide Ireland Funds are holding events in 13 cities across 5 countries attended by over 6,000 supporters. March 18 also marks a milestone in the transition of leadership of The American Ireland Fund.

At a Board meeting of The American Ireland Fund held on March 18, John Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group, North America was officially confirmed as the organization’s next Chairman.

He will assume the role in 2014 when current Chairman Loretta Brennan Glucksman steps down.

Enda Kenny greets the public at New York's St. Patrick's Day ParadeJames Higgins