BY JOE LEARY
SPECIAL TO THE BIR
Five Irish universities, ninety-four primary schools in the Republic, fifteen primary and secondary schools in Northern Ireland, and twelve community groups throughout Ireland received support from the Irish American Partnership in 2012 – a total of 126 schools and organizations benefitting from Irish America’s love of their heritage.
Revenue for 2012 – $692,730 – was up 15 percent over 2011 with 89 percent spent on the Partnership’s mission in Ireland.
Says Mary Sugrue McAleer, Executive Director of the Partnership: “This was a very successful year for our organization. Our focus on education, specifically science education, was welcome in Ireland and endorsed enthusiastically by our national membership.”
In August, speaking to members of the Partnership’s board of directors meeting in Dublin, Ireland’s Minister of Education Ruairi Quinn said, “We applaud what you are doing. Please let your members know that we need your help and we sincerely appreciate your support for Irish education.”
The Partnership is a Boston headquartered 501C3 charity dedicated to organizing Irish America on behalf of Ireland and our Irish heritage. The organization, with a very small staff – one full-time and two part-time employees - draws support from throughout the United States and is particularly active in the Boston, Chicago, Albany, and Washington D.C. areas. The Partnership holds many events in these cities including golf tournaments in Chicago, Albany, and Newport, Rhode Island.
There are eleven members of the board of directors, from five different states and froim Dublin. For more extensive details see the Partnership website, irishap.org.
Last year, the Partnership was privileged to hold two events honoring An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Ireland’s Prime Minister, one here in Boston and one in Chicago. More than 700 Partnership supporters attended the events.
“The Irish American Partnership has a great track record in supporting worthy causes in Ireland,” said Kenny, “particularly in the area of education. I thank the members of the Partnership for everything they do to promote and support the great connection between Ireland and the United States.”
Working closely with St. Patrick’s Teaching College in Dublin and Mary Immaculate Teaching College in Limerick, the Partnership has for many years funded science teaching research and science teacher training courses in Western Ireland’s rural primary schools. New 2013 programs have been funded and already begun in Mayo, and more will begin shortly in Limerick.
The Partnership Northern Ireland programs will continue supporting transitional schools in the process of moving toward serving all communities. The Partnership is a supporter of the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, Northern Ireland, and several other community programs.
Many donors take advantage of the Partnership’s program encouraging supporters to select the school or area in Ireland they would like to assist. In most cases, the institution or area selected is important to the family. A relative may have emigrated from the area, perhaps the family name is located there, or maybe a mother or father went to that very school. The Partnership forwards the funds, mentioning the donor’s generosity and requesting that an acknowledgement be returned to Partnership offices, which, in turn, send the acknowledgement to the donor.
This is a satisfying way to connect with Ireland and has proven to be very popular. In 2012 nearly 30 schools were selected by Partnership donors.
The success of the Irish American Partnership is further affirmation of the heartfelt regard both Irish and Irish Americans have for Ireland.
Joe Leary is CEO and president of the Irish American Partnership.