Encouraging young to believe in philanthropy

Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 00:00

Encouraging philanthropy during a recession is difficult enough but encouraging philanthropy among young people raises that challenge to a whole new level.

If they are lucky enough to have jobs, most young people are preoccupied with holding on to them, so where does philanthropy come into it?

The Ireland Fund, a global network of philanthropists, has met this challenge head-on with its Young Leaders initiative and says it is already exceeding its goals.

Director Caitlin Duffy said the project had already attracted 50 members and a network of 500 supporters since it was launched last year. The number of Young Leaders could easily be doubled, she said, as word spread.

“The age range of the Young Leaders is from 25 to 40 years old and spans across all sectors,” Ms Duffy said.

It has attracted people working in fields such as stockbroking, technology, public relations and law. “The common thread that links the group is their desire to give back to Ireland and make a difference where it is needed.”

The Irish branch of the Young Leaders is one of the newest groups in the programme. It started in the US more than 10 years ago to motivate young adults to get involved in philanthropy and specifically to give back to Ireland.

In January, the Irish Young Leaders programme pledged to raise €50,000 for charitable causes and it has already reached that goal. The funds go to support the Ireland Funds annual grant round which distributes €1 million in funding to projects across the 32 counties in Ireland.

Projects that have received funds include the Computer Clubhouse for young people in Dublin’s Liberties, the Kids in the Kitchen charity, Guide Dogs for Autism and the Burrenbeo Trust, which works to protect the Burren landscape.