Ireland Funds Reports $7M Grants for First Half 2010 at Largest Ever Summit of Diaspora Network Leaders in Dublin

-Acclaimed novelist Colm Toibin wins 38th annual AIF literary award

-Ireland Funds attracting unprecedented support despite global downturn

Jun 20, 2010, 07:00 ET from Ireland Funds

DUBLIN, June 20 /PRNewswire/ -- At the largest ever annual meeting of the worldwide Ireland Funds in Dublin, the Irish Diaspora's philanthropy network reported that its charitable donations for the first half of 2010 would reach $7 million in grants and gifts to arts, social and community organizations across the island.

Convened at the Irish state guest house, Farmleigh, the Ireland Funds summit of 270 philanthropists from diverse parts of the globe – including the US, the UK, Canada, France, and China – was the culmination of a 4-day program that included a visit to projects in Belfast. Guest of honor at this year's summit was Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheal Martin.

A unique feature of the Dublin summit was the inaugural Young Leaders' Diaspora Conference which brought together 130 emerging young leaders from the US and Ireland with backgrounds in business, academia and the arts. The conference focused on new strategies to grow the philanthropy network among the next generation of leaders within the worldwide Diaspora.

At a post-summit gala dinner in the National Gallery of Ireland, attended by Nobel laureate and poet, Seamus Heaney, the internationally acclaimed Irish novelist and critic, Colm Toibin, received the 38th annual American Ireland Fund (AIF) Literary Award.  Mr. Toibin was presented with the award, including a bursary of $25,000, by AIF chairman, Loretta Brennan Glucksman. Previous recipients include Mr. Heaney as well as novelists Edna O'Brien and William Trevor, and poet Brendan Kennelly.

Ireland Funds worldwide president and CEO, Kieran McLoughlin, said "This groundswell of pragmatic patriotism among Ireland's Diaspora has enabled the Ireland Funds to deliver for projects across the island of Ireland against a relentlessly challenging economic and philanthropic environment. There is no doubt that this wonderful rally in support for Ireland, at a time of great need North and South, is down to the hardwire connectivity the worldwide network enjoys with our country."

Mr. McLoughlin continued: "It gives the Ireland Funds greater confidence than ever that we will be able to continue the vital work of connecting willing donors with deserving causes right through the end of 2010. And it underscores the importance that the worldwide network offers to Ireland's economic development as well as social solidarity, as identified by the Irish Government at the Global Economic Forum at Farmleigh last year. If there is evidence of a silver lining in the cloud that hangs over the economy of the island right now, then the Diaspora is its brightest spot."

Over the past 35 years, The American Ireland Fund has raised more than $300 million to advance the work of more than 1,200 organizations that counter sectarianism, preserve Irish culture, strengthen community development and assist those in need in Ireland, as well as the UK and US.  Today, the Ireland Funds has a presence in twelve countries and hosts over 100 events per year attended by over 40,000 people.

SOURCE Ireland Funds