The Ireland Funds

The Ireland Funds

The Ireland Funds is a global fundraising organization for people of Irish ancestry and friends of Ireland dedicated to raising funds to support programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community development throughout the island of Ireland. The Funds exist in many Fact|How many?|date=September 2008 countries around the world, the largest member of the network being "The American Ireland Fund", and, after Atlantic Philanthropies, may be the second largest non-governmental donor to Irish causes.


The American Irish Foundation

During his visit to Ireland in 1963, United States President John F. Kennedy joined with Irish President Éamon de Valera to form "The American Irish Foundation". The mission of this organization was to foster connections between Americans of Irish descent and the country of their ancestry.

The Ireland Fund

In 1976, Dr. Anthony J.F. O'Reilly (Sir Tony O'Reilly), former CEO of H.J. Heinz Co. (as well as a former Ireland rugby union player), created "The Ireland Fund" with friend and fellow Pittsburgh businessman Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team. With three goals, "Peace, Culture and Charity", The Ireland Fund appealed for support for Ireland and its people from all Americans, especially those of Irish descent.


On St. Patrick's Day 1987, The Ireland Fund and the American Irish Foundation merged at a White House ceremony to form The American Ireland Fund and to become the world's largest private organization funding constructive change in IrelandFact|date=September 2008, both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.

Chapters of the American Ireland Fund

Over the following decade, The Ireland Funds formed a thriving fundraising network of chapters in additional cities across the United States as The American Ireland Fund including Boston, Chicago, Palm Beach, New York, Houston, Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, San Diego, Philadelphia, Providence, New Jersey and Washington D.C.


With over 70 events annually in 40 cities around the world attended by 40,000 people raising over $300 million since 1976 Fact|date=September 2008, The Ireland Funds is one of the largest non-governmental organisation helping Ireland, and does most of its work by choosing and contributing to the work of other NGOs.

Although the American Ireland Fund remains the largest component of the Ireland Funds structure, there are also Ireland Funds in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, the UK, and Ireland.


The Ireland Funds have their world headquarters in Boston, and an office in Foster Place in Dublin. They have had an active website since 1996, with three major relaunches since then.

Governance and staffing

The Ireland Funds are overseen by voluntary directors at various levels, and have regional and global staff, led by a worldwide CEO and President, and with each country or chapter led by a local CEO, Chairman or Executive Director.

External links

* [ Official website]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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