Throughout Ireland there are philanthropists who are wonderful exemplars of what can be achieved through giving, the impact it can have on societal issues, the value added, the change that can be effected. Overall, the difference that can be made to peoples’ lives. They have powerful stories, providing compelling reasons for active support and engagement with philanthropy and giving.

A long and ardent supporter of philanthropy, the businessman Maurice Healy, of The Healy Group, has always led by example, giving not just financial backing but a great deal of his time, talent and energy to a broad variety of causes. The value and impact of such support is far reaching, as highlighted by some of the beneficiaries of the Healy Foundation – the social entrepreneurs who were enabled to address key social issues; the adult learners who were facilitated in returning to education and are now in full time employment; the families in Haiti who now have access to clean water and housing; the bereaved parents who are supported in their time of crisis – the list could go on.

Maurice Haiti

Another recent public commentator on his philanthropy was the businessman Barry O’Sullivan. In commenting on his decision to gift the proceeds of the sale of his house to Focus Ireland, he said he initially wanted to do it on the condition of anonymity but agreed to go public in an effort to convince others who are in the position to, to do something similar. Sister Stan, founder of Focus and a long respected figure, noted the value of such openness, providing the opportunity to encourage others to follow in these footsteps.

Barry O'Sullivan

The recent Philanthropist of the Year 2017 Awards, in addition to recognising worthy recipients, provide a platform for opening conversations on philanthropy in Ireland. And those conversations are so important if we are to enable philanthropy to flourish and continue to make an impact and a difference to many aspects of our society. Maurice Healy, as recipient of the award for 2017, commented that going public on giving is imperative to encourage others and to support transparency in the not for profit sector.

And Corporates have such a role to play, with many making significant contributions which are having an immense impact. Applegreen, as Corporate Philanthropist of the Year 2017, highlighted their impact on the lives of so many children through their support of Barnardos, ISPCC and Debra Ireland to name but a few. International Philanthropists of the Year, SAP, through their Africa Code Week have made a real difference to the lives 400,000 young people in Africa.

Phil Award winners 2017

These are real stories of where philanthropy has made a real and lasting difference. As exemplars on philanthropy we need all of these donors to be proud to tell their story, the story of not just the difference it has made in the lives of others but also in their own lives. We need to applaud these stories and amplify the messages. By focusing on impact and value, we can encourage others to be a part of sharing and shaping the future.

Do you have a story to tell? If so we would love to hear it, why not share it with us.
Let’s keep the conversation going on the value and impact of philanthropy in Ireland.