Steve Greeley, Nolan Donato (13 year old from Scituate)
Photo: Roger Farrington

More than 1,100 guests gathered Thursday, November 15, for The American Ireland Fund’s 31st Annual Boston Dinner Gala at the Westin Boston Waterfront. Nearly $2.5 million was raised for The Worldwide Ireland Funds Promising Ireland Campaign to support nonprofit organizations across the island of Ireland and around the world. The Annual Boston Gala is one of the largest of The Worldwide Ireland Funds’ 100 international events.

The 2012 Boston Gala is chaired by Ron O’Hanley, President of Asset Management & Corporate Services at Fidelity Investments, and the Vice Chairmen are: Douglas Donahue, Managing Partner of Brown Brothers Harriman & Company; John Fish, Chairman and CEO of Suffolk Construction Company and William Teuber, Vice Chairman of EMC Corporation. Robert L. Reynolds, President and CEO of Putnam Investments is the Chairman of the Boston Regional Advisory Board of The American Ireland Fund.
The 2012 Gala honored the new Boston Red Sox Manager John Farrell, who will be the 20th Red Sox manager of Irish heritage in the Club’s 112 year history. This event was Farrell’s first Boston public appearance since the Red Sox press conference announcing his hiring.

“The Boston Gala historically has been among the city’s most successful fundraising events each year, and this year, under the leadership of Ron O’Hanley, has been no different. In fact, it has been the best ever,” said Steve Greeley, New England Director of The American Ireland Fund. “The event is sold out and we were pleased to welcome guests from around the world to celebrate with us. It is an honor for the Boston Irish-American community and its friends to be able to give back to Ireland at a time when our support is needed there now more than ever.”

Added Gala Chair Ron O’Hanley, “The Gala for The American Ireland Fund has become a Boston institution, drawing support for a cause with deep roots in our city while celebrating the essence of the Irish experience- tradition, faith and fellowship.”

Honoree, Red Sox Manager John Farrell, said “Like the Red Sox, The American Ireland Fund is part of the rich culture and history of Boston. I am grateful and honored to participate in this year’s American Ireland Fund annual Gala."

The American Ireland Fund is part of an international philanthropic network operating in 12 countries that have raised over $430 million for worthy causes in Ireland and around the world. The mission of The Worldwide Ireland Funds is to be the largest network of friends of Ireland dedicated to supporting programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community development throughout the island of Ireland. Founded in 1976, the Ireland Funds have assisted over 1,200 organizations.

In response to the severe downturn in the Irish Economy, The Worldwide Ireland Funds launched the Promising Ireland Campaign in 2009 to raise funds over a five-year period to support charities that are experiencing an increased demand for their services at a time of a major reduction in resources. The initial campaign goal of raising $100 million was revised to $140 million when the initial goal was exceeded 19 months before the campaign’s end. The campaign’s title, “Promising Ireland”, reflects the Funds’ pledge to these groups as well as their belief in Ireland’s future. Over 350 outstanding projects and organizations have received support from the Promising Ireland Campaign.