Ireland Fund head says ‘no way’ it can bridge funding gap from 2016
Warning of need for greater culture of philanthropy in Ireland when Atlantic Philanthropies and One Foundation close
Loretta Brennan Glucksman said philanthropy in Ireland was “on a trajectory” and would be regarded within five years as “a full partner in Ireland in areas that make a civil society”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
The outgoing chairwoman of the Ireland Fund has warned there is “no way” it can make up for the funding that will be lost when two major philanthropic funds close down.
Loretta Brennan Glucksman, who was honoured at the Rehab People of the Year awards, said there needed to be a greater culture of philanthropy in Ireland to make up for the shortfall when Atlantic Philanthropies and the One Foundation close in 2016.
Ms Brennan Glucksman is due to step down as chairwoman of the Ireland Fund at the end of the year. Since it was set up 1976, the Ireland Fund has donated $450 million (€338 million) to projects in both the Republic and the North.
Despite that, she said the Ireland Fund was “not in a position to take up the slack” in 2016, and hundreds of millions of euros are potentially at stake.
She urged the Government to look seriously at a proposal by Frank Flannery, chairman of the Forum on Philanthropy, which would be a structured way for tax exiles to contribute to Irish society. The proposal is due to be presented to Government shortly.
She acknowledged that tax exile was a “toxic term” but she said a proposal which would allow them to contribute directly to the Government and, at the same time, to a philanthropic fund had merit. It had been successful in Israel for the past 15 years.
“This is a structured way that they can contribute and that the Government can count on,” she added. “It would be an assured income stream.”
She said she would prefer if tax exiles “pay their taxes as I do and the Government uses it”, but tax exiles lived abroad for business reasons.
She said philanthropy in Ireland was “on a trajectory” and would be regarded within five years as “a full partner in Ireland in areas that make a civil society. The Irish have been known around the world as most generous, but it was mostly sent away. The culture is changing to look at indigenous philanthropy to be a good thing.”