2018 Philanthropist of the Year Winners

2018 Philanthropist of the Year Winners

Posted on February 14, 2018

We are delighted to announce the winners of our 10th annual Philanthropist of the Year awards, the awards were presented on February 15th at a luncheon hosted by broadcaster Marian Finucane in Dublin.

This year’s Philanthropist of the Year Award winners are:

  • Norah Casey as The Community Foundation for Ireland’s National Philanthropist of the Year for her significant support for a number of charities including The Irish Hospice Foundation, Women’s Aid and Make A Wish Ireland.
  • Bord Gáis Energy as The Community Foundation for Ireland’s Corporate Philanthropist of the Year  for providing funding of  €1.2m  to Focus Ireland to help with the prevention of family homelessness

Now in their 10th year, The Community Foundation for Ireland’s Philanthropist of the Year Awards recognises extraordinary leadership in the area of philanthropy. The winners, through their giving, have all made a remarkable difference in bringing about sustainable social change and giving back to their communities. Whilst acknowledging that many people, including many of The Community Foundation for Ireland’s donors, prefer to give in a low profile and anonymous way, The Community Foundation for Ireland sees the need for positive role models as a way of raising awareness of the value, impact and enjoyment of strategic giving.

This year’s winners join other well-known philanthropists such as Maurice Healy, Carmel and Martin Naughton, Brendan O’Carroll, Keith Duffy, Chuck Feeney’s Atlantic Philanthropies, Diageo, Vodafone Foundation, Mark FitzGerald and Declan Ryan in being awarded the accolade.

Commenting on the 10th anniversary of the awards, Tina Roche, CEO, The Community Foundation for Ireland said, “Since we began the awards a decade ago, 30 philanthropic individuals, families, trusts and foundations and corporates have been recognised for their impactful and strategic giving. We all know Irish people are generous but we have so much more to do to develop strategic and planning giving in this country. We have promoted philanthropy for almost 20 years and are really witnessing the emergence of families and entrepreneurs who want advice on how best to give but also how to do it with the highest levels of governance”.

Upon congratulating the winners, she commented “Philanthropy is from both the head and the heart; it is truly planned giving. It focuses on results, on the longer term and on the sustainable. We hope that these winners will inspire others to come forward and adopt a more strategic and sustained approach to giving”.

National winner Norah Casey, said, “This year of all years I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of all of those who can never speak up and share their stories. When I shared my own story of domestic violence I had no idea how hard it would be. But there was one big upside. I felt powerless and weak during those years but lately I began to understand that it also gave me a hidden superpower. Something I didn’t realise I had until a few months ago. I have the ability to help someone who is going through what I went through.

Over the course of my lifetime I have connected with charities that mean a great deal to me and in giving have received so much back in return.

Sometimes the best way is by giving your time, your skills and your dedication but this year I volunteered something deeply personal to help spark a conversation about domestic violence and to reach out to those who followed and are still following in my footsteps. It means a great deal that The Community Foundation for Ireland, in presenting me with this honor, are also shining a light on domestic abuse.”

Corporate winner, Mark Prentice, Managing Director (Interim), Bord Gáis Energy said, “Focus Ireland provides an invaluable service in helping families, young people and children affected by homelessness. As a business, our partnership with Focus Ireland over the last three years has not only provided financial support but also practical support through staff volunteering that continues to help alleviate family homelessness. We are incredibly proud to support such a worthy cause and it’s great to see our entire team embrace such an important partnership.”

At the event, The Community Foundation for Ireland also presented The Brian Wilson award for services to philanthropy to John and Bernie Gallagher for their support of the Aspire Scholarship programme in UCD.

The Philanthropists of the Year each receive an award designed by Ronan Halpin.

To find out more about the Philanthropist of the Year Awards click here.