Irish donations to Ireland Funds rise despite downturn


Despite the economic downturn, donations to the Ireland Funds are increasingly coming from Irish donors rather than overseas supporters, its chief executive, Kieran McLoughlin, said last night.

The Ireland Funds is a global fundraising organisation that supports worthy causes in Ireland and abroad. Mr McLoughlin said some of the biggest gifts the organisation had received for its Promising Ireland campaign had come from Irish donors.

Acknowledging the support of US philanthropists, he announced an Ireland Funds donation of $250,000 (€191,000) to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, mainly in the Irish-American neighbourhoods of Queens.

Mr McLoughlin was speaking at the US ambassador’s residence in Phoenix Park at an event to celebrate the Young Leaders initiative, set up by the Ireland Funds last year. It encourages people aged 25 to 40 to get involved in philanthropy.

Some 150 people attended last night’s sold-out event.

Mr McLoughlin told the Young Leaders they represented “the new wave of philanthropy in this country”.

“It’s very easy to turn in on oneself and not be concerned about need elsewhere . . . you’ve risen above that.”

He said the Ireland Funds would soon be launching its “Small grants, big difference” initiative, supported by business group Ibec and The Irish Times, which will support the work of non-profit organisations all over Ireland.

Rugby player Brian O’Driscoll said the work being done by the Young Leaders gave huge hope for the future. He said leadership was most relevant in times of adversity. “It’s easy to lead when the going is good . . . but I think it’s when your back is against the wall that the true leader steps up and gives guidance.”