President Higgins Makes a Special Address at Ireland’s celebration of 100 years of the Global Community Foundation Movement

The Community Foundation for Ireland, one of the country’s leading philanthropic organisations, launched their annual report at Ireland’s celebration of 100 Years of the Global Community Foundation movement at a lunch time event addressed by its patron, President Michael D. Higgins in The Westin Hotel, Dublin.

2014 marks the 100 year anniversary since the establishment of the first community foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. Over the following century the concept of community foundations spread globally and to Ireland in 2000 when The Community Foundation for Ireland was established.

Since its establishment, The Community Foundation for Ireland has awarded over €16.5m in grants and over €7.5m in the past three years alone. The launch of its 2013 annual report reveals that through the generosity of donors and through income from its long term endowed fund, in 2013 the Foundation distributed over €3.5m through a wide range of grants – a record for The Foundation to date.

Inspired by the effectiveness and impact of community foundations globally, The Community Foundation for Ireland helps connect individuals, families and organisations with the causes that can make best use of their generosity. Working right across the country and having deep roots in the community, the Foundation believes in the power of philanthropy to deliver just and progressive social change, empowering people who want to make a difference through a proven model of philanthropy that is based on trust, effectiveness and impact.

President Higgins special address was a fitting tribute to the work of the Foundation.  In an environment of declining public and private resources (including the imminent closure of a number of the largest trusts and foundations), charities, community and voluntary groups are under severe pressure with resources and meeting the needs of the clients which they serve.

Brian Toller, Chair of The Community Foundation of Ottawa, spoke about  the positive impact of community foundations around the world in addressing causes and issues in society over the past 100 years. Mr Toller observed:

“One of the reasons we are having this event is to mark the formation 100 years ago of the world’s first community foundation, established by lawyer and banker Frederick H. Goff in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914. His vision was to pool the charitable resources of the community into a single and permanent endowment for the benefit of all. If Mr Goff were alive today, I am sure he would be astonished to learn that there are now almost 1800 community foundations in more than 50 countries across the world, managing in excess of €40 billion in assets. All share the same basic attributes of community foundations everywhere, namely prudent financial stewardship of endowed assets; knowledgeable and effective grant-making to local charities using the income from those assets; and a capability and desire to improve the lives of thousands of people by connecting donors who care with causes that matter.”

Download The Community Foundation for Ireland’s 2013 Annual Report here (PDF)