|Kieran McLoughlin, President & CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds and Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Chairman of The American Ireland Fund, brief Michael D. Higgins President of Ireland on the milestone announcement that The Worldwide Ireland Funds Promising Ireland Campaign has overtaken its $100 million goal 19 months early.|
The biggest fundraising dinner in the history of Irish America or indeed Ireland, took place last night at the Lincoln Center in New York.
The American Ireland Fund raised a staggering $4.3 million blowing away all previous records.
They also announced they had reached their $100 million fundraising goal 19 months early.
I was glad to be present at an Irish milestone that did not involve record debt, unemployment or some other bad news that has bedeviled the Irish in these trying times.
Looking around the packed Lincoln Center venue where over 1,300 had gathered, it seemed every prominent Irish American business man and woman from the New York area was in attendance—a resounding vote of confidence in the AIF and the work they do.
The AIF was rightfully, shouting from the rooftops that Irish America has delivered once again for Ireland’s most worthy charities and in the process confirmed what a giving hand Irish American have.
The Ireland Funds' Chairman Loretta Brennan Glucksman, announced that the Promising Ireland campaign to raise $100 million for charities had not only reached its goal 19 months ahead of schedule, but had also exceeded its target.
Chief Executive and President Kieran McLoughlin revealed that the campaign total now stands at over $120 million.
All this was achieved during the toughest economic times in recent history which makes it even more impressive.
I’m glad that the new Irish president Michael D. Higgins was present to see and hear the extraordinary news. He can certainly bear the glad tidings back to an Ireland awash in negativity where any good news is surely deeply appreciated.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan was the guest of honor on the night and he spoke impressively of his own Irish journey, his people were famine-tossed arrivals in America in the 1850s and now he runs the largest bank in the world with over 238,000 employees.
Despite his incredible rise he has never forgotten those Irish who risked all in order to make it possible for him in America.
Both Loretta Brennan Glucksman and Kieran McLoughlin deserve enormous credit for reaching the milestone.
The AIF under them is simply an organization that outgrew its elitist image and has become far more responsive and attuned in both America and Ireland to community needs and wants.
They have $ 500 million in their sights now, after announcing that the overall total raised by the Ireland Funds since inception is now $430 million
Other VIPs attending included Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg; New York Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly; Speaker of New York City Council, Christine Quinn; Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel; and celebrated author Colum McCann. Martha Stewart was also in attendance.
I spent a fascinating few minutes with former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt who had certainly made the headlines recently in a spectacular divorce case.
He and brother David, now a major investor in Ireland, were clearly enjoying the night.
It was that kind of evening, there’s nothing quite like a rip roaring Irish party, especially when there is something to celebrate.
The AIF has done Ireland and Irish America proud.