Bono Joins President Clinton and Mayor Bloomberg at New York’s Lincoln Center to Support American Ireland Fund’s $3MM Gala
NEW YORK, May 6 /PRNewswire/ — U2′s Bono joined President Clinton, Mayor Bloomberg and 1,300 members of the Irish-American business, political and arts communities at the American Ireland Fund 35th Anniversary New York Gala at the Lincoln Center Thursday to raise $3 million for Irish and Irish-American projects. Despite the economic downturn on both sides of the Atlantic, this year’s special anniversary gala – one of the largest annual events of its kind among the global Irish Diaspora – surpassed the American Ireland Fund’s target of $2.5 million.
Honored at this year’s 35th anniversary dinner was Andrew N. Liveris, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Dow Chemical Company, who received the Leslie C. Quick, Jr. Leadership Award. Among other distinguished guests joining the former President and the New York City Mayor were Michael Geoghegan, Group Chief Executive of HSBC Holdings plc, Christopher M. “Kip” Condron, President and Chief Executive Officer of AXA Financial, Inc., Robert J. McCann, Chief Executive Officer of UBS Wealth Management Americas, and the Secretary of State’s Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, Declan Kelly.
Proceeds from the Gala will benefit a range of projects across the island of Ireland as well as in the United States. The first two checks cut on the night, for $500,000 and $200,000 respectively, were for the Music Network in Ireland, and the Forgotten Irish in New York. A nationwide musical and vocal tuition program for Ireland’s teens, the Music Network is a $10 million U2/Ireland Funds partnership which has already received a $7 million commitment from the band. The initial injection of $ 1/2 million from the Ireland Fund at the AIF’s New York Gala Thursday night will grow to $3 million over the next two years.
Also committed on the night was a $200,000 investment in the Forgotten Irish campaign in New York’s boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx to support isolated and impoverished elderly Irish-American emigrants. This is the second year for the American Ireland Fund to donate to the campaign.
Addressing the capacity crowd at the Tent at Lincoln Center, U2′s Bono said, “One of the big disappointments of my young life was when the piano was taken from my grandmother’s house. Luckily for me, I went on to a school with a strong music facility. As a band we believe music tuition should be available to anyone who wants it. It greatly benefits the individual, which in turn benefits the country. We hope the National Music Tuition Programme will inspire Ireland’s young musicians, who might not otherwise get access to such valuable teaching.”
Also addressing the Gala, President and CEO of the Worldwide Ireland Funds, Kieran McLoughlin, said, “There may be a downturn in the economies of our two countries but there’s no downturn in the generosity of Irish Americans. You understand that philanthropic investment strengthens communities not just economies. You understand that the ultimate triumph over those who seek to wreck our communities, whether in Times Square or Belfast, is reaching out to marginalized people through persistent investment in peace and reconciliation.”
In its 35th year, the annual American Ireland Fund dinner gala and the other activities of the American Irish network have raised over $300 million for projects across the island of Ireland that have contributed to cross-community peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Since the Global Ireland Funds were first established in the US by Sir Anthony O’Reilly and Dan Rooney, 1,200 Irish causes have benefited.
Images available via Getty Images (Photographer: Kevin Mazur)
SOURCE American Ireland Fund