Liam Cunningham, star of Game of Thrones, accepts The Ireland Funds’ Spirit of Ireland Award for his philanthropic and humanitarian work and contributions to the arts. He was honored at The Young Leaders Global Summit in 2017.
On Thursday, January 26th, over 150 Young Leaders of The Ireland Funds from around the world gathered in New York City for the 6th annual Young Leaders Summit.
The series of events kicked off with a meeting of the Steering Committee chairs. The meeting with chapter chairs was followed by an orientation meeting for those attending the Summit for the first time.
After the opening and orientation meetings, the Summit officially kicked off with the traditional welcome barbeque at the Wheeltapper patio at Fitzpatrick Grand Central and opening remarks by National Director of the Young Leaders Pat Tully, and The Ireland Funds Director of Young Leaders Siobhán Gallagher; Kieran McLoughlin, Worldwide President and CEO of The Ireland Funds and John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of The Ireland Funds America. Following the remarks, the networking continued along with a performance by Peadar O’Hici and his band.
The Young Leaders were up bright and early for the next session at the stunning offices of Conde Nast at One World Trade Center. After enjoying a networking breakfast surrounded by sweeping views of downtown, Pat Tully welcomed the guests, spoke about the theme of the Summit, “The global Irish footprint,” and how they would examine that through a series of conversations on the economy, the media, technology and the Irish diaspora. Pat also acknowledged how many Young Leaders were personally effected by the tragic events of September 11 that had unfolded just steps from One World Trade Center. Pat then introduced Kieran McLoughlin to give an overview of The Ireland Funds it enters its 41st year of philanthropy.
Kieran then introduced the keynote speaker for the session, Greg Brown, Chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions. Greg delivered an inspiring and passionate speech about the importance of leadership and giving back. Greg followed his remarks with a Q&A session.
Following Greg’s remarks, the Young Leaders listened to a panel discussion on the economy and how the island of Ireland has been and will continue to be effected by the Brexit vote. The Ireland Funds America Board Directors, Gene McQuade, former CEO of Citi Group and Harry Hartford, President, Causeway Capital joined Paul Duffy, CEO of Pernod Ricard USA. The spirited discussion covered the importance of philanthropy as well as each panelists’ prognostication of Ireland as an innovative place to do business in the future. The discussion was followed by a Q&A.
The economy panel was then followed by a panel on the media and technology. CNN legend Fionnuala Sweeney moderated a fascinating talk with panelists Mel Foody, Director of Business Intelligence at Google; Clare MacGoey, CFO of Giphy and Liam Lynch, Founder of Studio.VC. The panel covered the changing landscape of media and how Ireland is the European home to many of the companies who are leading that change in the social media space. The discussion was also followed by a Q&A session.
Later in the afternoon, Young Leader Rob MacGoey, partner at PWC, led a panel on the Irish diaspora, with panelists Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Chairman Emeritus, The Ireland Funds America; Adrian Jones, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs and Board Director, The Ireland Funds America and Selina Cartmell, Director of the Gate Theatre, Dublin (as of April 2017). The riveting conversation led to a series of insightful questions from the Young Leaders following the discussion.
Later that afternoon, Pat Tully and Siobhán Gallagher gave the “State of The Young Leaders” presentation, detailing how the global Young Leaders are now making their indelible mark on the global Irish footprint by exceeding their fundraising target and raising over $1 million for the work of The Ireland Funds in 2016.
To conclude the afternoon, the Young Leaders walked across the plaza, past the memorial reflecting pools to visit a private art collective at 4 World Trade Center led by renowned Dublin Artist, David Uda AKA Duda. David was commissioned by The World Trade Center Gallery and created a unique memorial to those who lost their lives at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001. Barbara Jones, Ireland’s Consul General in New York, greeted the Young Leaders and spoke about the importance of the Irish Arts and the Young Leaders’ role in helping to raise funds to build the new Irish Arts Center. Duda then spoke about his inspiration for the memorial and the unique project on the 69th floor alongside of 33 other artists.
Later that evening the Young Leaders gathered at the Prince George Ballroom for cocktails and a dinner to honor NYPD hero Detective Brian O’Donnell. Following the cocktail hour with a performance by Vonnie Quinn and Dan Paccione, the Young Leaders headed into dinner where they were greeted with welcome comments by Pat Tully and a surprise performance by the pipes and drums of the NYPD Emerald Society.
After dinner, Kieran McLoughlin welcomed the guests back and introduced the 43rd Police Commissioner of the City of New York James P. O’Neill. Commissioner O’Neill spoke about the NYPD tradition and connections to Ireland and the bravery of Detective O’Donnell.
On September 15th, 2016, Detective O’Donnell had seen a man wielding a meat cleaver near civilians. Instincts kicked in and Brian sprang into action, tackling the perpetrator, but suffered a deep slashing wound down the left side of his face.
Brian took the podium and delivered a terrific speech on his background, growing up in Dublin and emigrating to New York after his 18th birthday and his personal road and rise through the ranks of the NYPD.
He was presented with an award handcrafted out of 5000 year old Irish bog oak. Following Brian’s remarks, the guests raised a toast to our honoree and headed to the after party at East Village hot spot, VNYL, owned by our friend James Morrissey.
On Saturday morning, the Young Leaders packed onto busses and headed to Brooklyn and the New York HQ of Vice Media. Following a buffet breakfast, Caitriona Fottrell, VP & Director, Ireland, welcomed our guests and introduced our host for the day, Niall Cooney, Director of International Infrastructure for Vice Media.
Caitriona then introduced her panelists to break down our impact report that was led by Mark Fitzgerald, Principal, KPMG. Mark was also joined on the panel by Tom O’Leary, COO, The Ireland Funds America and Alan Foy, CEO of Blueface and Ireland Fund Board Director.
Caitriona and the panel opened up a discussion about where our donors’ philanthropic gifts are spent on the ground in Ireland and how they are impacting our grantees. It was a fascinating conversation that led into a Q&A and a breakout session where the Young Leaders brainstormed on ways that they could go help bring in larger gifts for our grantees.
After a lunch break, Siobhán Gallagher introduced the Global Leadership Network (GLN) representatives to present on their findings after spending time with four of our flagship grantees, and explained that the Young Leaders would vote on which flagship would get an additional grant of $10,000 from The Ireland Funds. Faye Walsh Drouillard presented on Charities Institute Ireland, Ger Ryan on NCI- Early Learning Initiatives, Ian Casey on Specialisterne and Mary Beth Glaccum on the Washington Ireland Program. After hearing the passionate and engaging presentations, the Young Leaders voted which organization would receive the grant, which would be announced that evening.
Following those presentations, Nik Quaife presented a story about our late friend and Young Leader Eileen Raftery. The story was created by the kids at “Fighting Words,” a 2014 flagship grantee. The Young Leaders also made a gift to Fighting Words in Eileen’s name.
Later that evening the Young Leaders headed to ZUMA for our dinner honoring Liam Cunningham and our Young Leader superlatives with the tongue in cheek awards AKA “The Youngies.”
The evening started with welcome remarks by Pat Tully, who then introduced Kieran McLoughlin and John Fitzpatrick. John commented the success of #YLS6 and the hard work and dedication of the Young Leaders across the globe. Later in the evening after dinner, Pat Tully welcomed the supporters back for the award. Jonathan Loughran, The Ireland Funds VP of Development, Los Angeles, introduced his friend, Liam Cunningham, star of Game of Thrones to accept the Spirit of Ireland Award for his philanthropic and humanitarian work as well as his incredible contributions to the arts. Liam remarked on how he has seen the results of the work of The Ireland Funds first-hand and thanked the Young Leaders for having him join them in New York.
After Liam’s award, Pat Tully and Siobhán Gallagher presented “The Youngies” to representatives from each city that traveled to NY for #YLS6.
Siobhán then announced the winner of the $10,000 grant: NCI – Early Learning Initiative. Ger Ryan, its GLN ambassador, thanked the audience and explained the real impact it would have for children and families in Ireland.
The dinner was followed by an after party at The Wheeltapper, hosted by Chairman John Fitzpatrick.
Sunday found the Young Leaders competing in “The Ryder Cup of Bowling” at Bowlmor, Times Square. The annual tradition is a fun way to recap the weekend with a friendly competition of the Young Leaders born in Ireland vs. the Young Leaders from other parts of the world. This year Ireland broke its unlucky streak and took home the Ryder Cup trophy!
Special thanks to:
John Fitzpatrick, Bob McCann, Jim Clerkin and Moet Hennessy, Tadhg O’Connor and BMW, Patrick Farrell and Farrell Limousine, Andrew McLeod and Union Beer, Hugh R. O’Kane Electric, Ken McCoy and The Pig N Whistle, Croine O’Halloran and Ronan Downs of Stone Street Tavern and Tavern 29, James Morrissey and VNYL, Eversheds Law Firm, and our incredible speakers throughout the weekend: including keynote speaker Greg Brown, Gene McQuade, Harry Hartford, Paul Duffy, Fionnuala Sweeney, Mel Foody, Clare MacGoey, Liam Lynch, Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Adrian Jones, Selina Cartmell, Rob MacGoey, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, Brian O’Donnell, Liam Cunningham, Niall Cooney, Alan Foy, Mark Fitzgerald, Faye Walsh Droulliard, Ger Ryan, Ian Casey, and Mary Beth Glaccum. Also special thanks to the staff at The Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel led by Patrick Leyden and Shona Perry as well as the staff of The Ireland Funds and David Restiano designs.