American Ireland Fund raises €3.8m at New York event

Philanthropic organisation’s 40th annual gala raises money for Irish causes, and honours NI peace architect Senator George Mitchell

The American Ireland Fund, the philanthropic organisation that raises money for Irish causes, made $4.3 million (€3.8 million) at its 40th annual New York gala on Thursday evening.

The organisation has now raised more than $500 million since its inception.

More than 1,000 guests attended the event, the biggest fundraiser held by the group's umbrella organisation, the Worldwide Ireland Funds. The gala dinner itself, started in 1976 by Sir Anthony O'Reilly and former US ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney, has raised more than $50 million in support of the fund's philanthropic work.

On Thursday, the fund paid tribute to Senator George Mitchell, the special guest at the event, for his efforts at advancing peace in Northern Ireland resulting in the Belfast Agreement of 1998.

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The family of Leslie Quick, the late co-founder of the Wall Street brokerage Quick & Reilly, and his wife Regina were honoured for their philanthropic work across Ireland, receiving the Bird and Bell Award.

The award's past recipients include the late Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, actor Liam Neeson and former president Mary McAleese.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent