Pictured L - R: National Director Rosaleen Molloy, Conall Ó Cnáimhín (14, Music Generation Laois), Kieran McLoughlin (President & CEO, The Worldwide Ireland Funds) Fiadh Fitzpatrick (13, Music Generation Laois), U2's Adam Clayton, Sarah Bennett (15, Music Generation Laois) and John Fitzpatrick (Chairman, The American Ireland Fund) during The American Ireland Fund New York Dinner Gala on Thursday, May 5, 2016 in New York City. Photograph by Michael Nagle.
5 May 2016, Manhattan, New York – The American Ireland Fund hosted its 41st Annual New York Dinner Gala on Thursday evening, May 5, 2016 in New York City. The event exceeded its target and raised $2.7 million for the support of hundreds of Irish charities and causes, including a $1m donation to Music Generation by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. This gift will support the expansion of Ireland’s National Music Education Programme into a further 9 new areas of the country by 2021 and create access to music education for thousands more children and young people.
Adam Clayton of U2 joined supporters of The Ireland Funds on the night to celebrate the successes of Music Generation, which was first launched in the US at The American Ireland Fund New York Dinner Gala in 2010.
“We in U2 benefitted from access to musical education – it transformed our lives,” said Adam Clayton. “We want the same opportunities for young people across Ireland. Music Generation is achieving this beyond anyone’s imagination. We are delighted that The Ireland Funds have joined us in committing to extending the programme. The news tonight that the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will make a gift of $1 million is a huge boost and will benefit young people across Ireland.”
Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education Program which transforms the lives of children and young people through access to high quality, subsidised performance music education. Initiated by Music Network, Music Generation is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, The Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.
In response to news of the $1m gift, National Director Rosaleen Molloy said: “Music Generation is immensely grateful to The Stavros Niarchos Foundation for this generous gift and for demonstrating their belief in the vision for Music Generation. This additional philanthropic donation will work in tandem with funding from Government and local Music Education Partnerships to advance our ultimate goal, to provide universal access to performance music education for every child and young person in Ireland.”
The New York Dinner Gala is the largest of the 150+ events held globally by The Ireland Funds.
“Tonight’s dinner proves the enduring and generous commitment of the diaspora to Ireland,” said Kieran McLoughlin, President & CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds. “Our supporters personify the spirit of philanthropy which is providing private resources for the public good. The Dinner is a demonstration of how affection for Ireland is translated into real and substantial support.”
"I am absolutely delighted to see that tonight’s dinner has been such a huge success,” said John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of The American Ireland Fund. “Our leadership, committed members and supportive guests always seem to come together to champion great causes in Ireland with incredible passion and generosity. They really understand that this is all about making a difference in people’s lives.”
In 2015, U2 and The Ireland Funds – who together gifted €7m in 2010 to launch the initiative – donated a further €3m to the programme to develop its next phase. Already, Music Generation is established in 12 areas of Ireland, providing access to music education for some 35,000 children and young people annually and creating 350 employment opportunities.
Members of the Stavros Niarchos family were in attendance at the event during which the additional $1 million gift to Music Generation was announced. To mark the occasion, three Music Generation Young Ambassadors from Laois performed a traditional set for guests, as well as a beautiful rendition of ‘The Foggy Dew’. 15-year old Sarah Bennett from Portlaoise (Bodhrán, Fiddle), 14 year-old Conall Ó Cnáimhín from Borris-in-Ossory (Cajon, Button Accordion, Fiddle) and 13 year-old Fiadh Fitzpatrick from Portarlington (Uilleann Pipes, Voice) were joined on stage by their mentor, musician Zoë Conway (Fiddle) for the performance.
The American Ireland Fund New York Dinner Gala recognized Mike McGavick, CEO of XL Group plc with The Leslie C. Quick Jr Leadership Award for his company’s investment in Ireland and his philanthropic endeavors.
Over 1,000 guests from the spheres of business, the arts and politics attended the Gala at Chelsea Piers – Pier Sixty. The 2016 American Ireland Fund New York Dinner Gala was chaired by Eugene McQuade, Chairman of XL Group plc and William J. Mills, CEO North America of Citi.
For more information on The Ireland Funds and a listing of organisations that have received support, visit www.theirelandfunds.org and follow #AIFNYGala
Aoife Lucey, Communications Manager, Music Generation
E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +353 1 475 8454 M: +353 85 741 5171
NOTES TO EDITORS
About The Ireland Funds
The Ireland Funds are a philanthropic network across 12 countries that has raised over $500 million for worthy causes in Ireland and Irish causes around the world. It is the largest network of friends of Ireland dedicated to supporting programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community development. Founded in 1976, The Ireland Funds have benefited over 3,000 organizations. Funds raised are contributed by private sources - individuals, corporations and foundations.
The American Ireland Fund holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator in recognition of efficiency, sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.
About Music Generation Laois
Music Generation Laois is a performance music education programme for children and young people in County Laois. Music Generation Laois is based in the Arts Office, Laois County Council, and delivers engaging music programmes in schools and centres across 6 programme strands: Singing, Trad, Orchestral, Stampede (World) Drumming, The Music Box – a Music Programme for children and young people with special needs – and a School of Rock and Pop. Since it was established in 2012, Music Generation Laois has invested in a large-scale instrument bank and in 2015 over 2,300 children and young people participated in the programme. Young people have weekly access to subsidised tuition and instruments, augmented by once-off workshops, masterclasses, concert attendance and performances, including performances at Electric Picnic 2014. Music Generation Laois is part of Music Generation – Ireland’s National Music Education Programme, initiated by Music Network and co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds together with The Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships. Locally, Music Generation Laois is managed by Laois Music Education Partnership and co-funded by Laois County Council, Laois-Offaly Education and Training Board and Laois Partnership Company.
About Music Generation
Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education Programme which transforms the lives of children and young people through access to high quality, subsidised performance music education. Initiated by Music Network, Music Generation is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, The Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.
Music Generation was made possible by a €7m philanthropic donation from U2 (€5m) and The Ireland Funds (€2m) which was gifted to progress the implementation of Music Network’s Feasibility Study for a National System of Local Music Education Services. This was the largest ever philanthropic donation to music education in Ireland in the history of the State.
Currently Music Generation local Music Education Partnerships (MEPs) are established in 12 areas of the country: Carlow, Clare, Cork City, Laois, Limerick City, Louth, Mayo, Offaly / Westmeath, Sligo, South Dublin and Wicklow. These programmes, formed during Phase 1 of Music Generation (2010 – 2015), are co-funded by Government through the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and matched on a 50/50 basis by funding generated by MEPs, ensuring a long-term and lasting outcome from U2 and The Ireland Funds’ philanthropic giving.
Phase 2 of Music Generation has been initiated through a further €3m donation from U2 (€2m) and The Ireland Funds (€1m) in 2015. This gift, together with the $1m donation by The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, will enable the expansion of the programme into up to nine new areas of the country between 2016 and 2020. The Department of Education and Skills has pledged its commitment to sustaining co-funding for Phase 2 together with local MEPs into the future, from 2020.
Music Generation believes in every child and young person’s musical potential and their innate artistry, that it is every child and young person’s right to have the choice of access and the chance to participate as a musical citizen and that music doesn’t just change lives, it transforms lives. The programme focuses on performance music education – that is vocal and instrumental tuition, encompassing all music genres and all types of instruments and vocal styles, delivered by skilled professional musicians interacting in an inspirational way with children and young people.