American Ireland Fund raises record $40m

 

THE CHIEF executive of the American Ireland Fund confirmed yesterday that the fund had its most successful year to date last year by raising $40 million (€28 million) for Irish charities.

Kieran McLoughlin said the funds raised last year were almost a four-fold increase on the amount raised in 2009.

The philanthropic organisation is staging its annual conference in Dromoland Castle, Co Clare, this weekend. President Mary McAleese attended the fund’s gala evening at the castle last night.

Mr McLoughlin said the fund was on target to match last year’s record as it had already raised $20 million this year.

The fund is currently promoting its Promising Ireland campaign to raise $100 million by December 2013 for Irish charities. Mr McLoughlin said the fund had already raised $70 million towards this and was not yet half way through the campaign.

The conference, which will review the fund’s activities over the past year, is being attended by almost 200 donors and supporters from the US, Britain, Australia, France, Canada, China, Singapore and Ireland.

Mr McLoughlin, who has been in his role since January 2010 and also serves as president of the organisation, said the money raised last year was “a fantastic statement of solidarity with Ireland”.

He added that 2009 was the worst year for philanthropy in the US since records began, with donations plunging by 84 per cent.

“Only 12 per cent of charities made a surplus in 2009 and happily we were one of them,” he said.

“Irish Americans are giving all the more generously, which is a response to the circumstances we are in.”

Mr McLoughlin said $50 million of the $70 million had been raised from donors, with the remaining $20 million raised from events and other activities.

He said the fund raised $3 million in one night this year through its New York gala dinner event.

Mr McLoughlin said the $40 million raised last year was distributed to 200 Irish charities.

The revelation that the total remuneration of Mr McLoughlin’s predecessor, Kingsley Aikins, was $923,552 in 2009 was a source of controversy last year.

Mr McLoughlin said yesterday that, over the past two years, the fund had taken $1 million off its cost base. He said his salary in 2010 was in the order of $300,000.

“It is not in the same bracket as my predecessor . . . It is a major change,” he said.