Carmel and Martin Naughton have been named National Philanthropists of the Year in recognition of their generosity and leadership in supporting the arts, education and the promotion of engineering, science and technology in Irish society.
Other awards by the Community Foundation for Ireland went to US technology multinational Xilinx, which was named Corporate Philanthropist of the Year for its local community work over the past 10 years, and to Chuck Feeney's Atlantic Philanthropies, which received the special Brian Wilson Award for its philanthropic contribution to Ireland.
“Philanthropy is at the foothills in Ireland if we compare, say, to the UK or the USA,” said Community Foundation for Ireland chief executive Tina Roche. “If we were giving at the same level as the UK, we’d have hundreds and hundreds of foundations.
“Now we’re starting once again to have the kind of wealth which you can have with philanthropy, and private philanthropy does incredible things.”
Mary Sutton, Ireland director for Atlantic Philanthropies, said the group is focused on “distilling the lessons” it has learned over “30 years of philanthropic giving on the island of Ireland . . . We’ve seen the catalytic impact that philanthropic money can have, and so our hope and desire is that others will carry out and develop philanthropy in Ireland.”
Atlantic Philanthropies is set to wind down its operations in Ireland by the end of 2016.
The organisation has given out more than $6 billion worldwide, with about €2 billion going to projects in Ireland.
The organisation announced last November that it would give €138 million to Trinity College Dublin and the University of California San Francisco to train health professionals in carrying out dementia research.