Modern Ireland: Charity Corner
Check out part 1 here!
Last week, we brought you three Irish charities to donate to in lieu of a gift or two this year: Barretstown, a free camp for children with cancer and serious illnesses, Cuan Mhuire, a fully funded addiction rehabilitation program, and the Irish Wildlife Trust, a not-for-profit organization focused on environmental conservation. But we’re not done yet! We’re back at it with three more worthy causes (all based in Ireland) to fulfill your season of giving this year. (And if you’re still looking for gift suggestions for your dancer, never fear! Just check out the recommendations section of our blog—all the gift guides are there!)
First off, let’s talk about The American Ireland Fund aka The Ireland Funds America. The American branch is based in Boston (with chapters all over the country,) and was originally called the American Irish Foundation when it was founded by none other than John F. Kennedy and Irish president Éamon de Valara in the 1960s. The Ireland Funds was originally a separate charity based solely in Ireland (founded in 1967) before the two merged in 1987 on Saint Patrick’s Day, complete with a function at the White House. But why merge? The goal of both organizations was and remains the same: a global, charitable network of “friends of Ireland” that promotes culture, arts, education, peace, and community across the Irish diaspora. The Fund has dispensed over $600 million to over 3,200 charities worldwide, but they remain focused on the goal of improving the world around them (and preserving Irish culture and helping those of Irish descent as they do.) With a “Give with Confidence” rating on Charity Navigator and an accountability rating of 100%, you know your money is going to a good cause!
Next up, we have the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation. Established in 1974, right in the midst of the Troubles and in response to them, Glencree is devoted to peacebuilding, dialogue, communication, and education. They believe in nonviolent solutions between disparate communities with the goal of reconciliation and are a non-governmental organization with no specific political leanings beyond peace between all parties and pacifism. Based in Northern Ireland with offices in County Wicklow just outside of Dublin, they offer safe, neutral spaces for people of all ages to address issues of sectarianism and discrimination, which are still an issue in Ireland to this day. But they don’t just address Irish issues—their Sustainable Peace Project brings together participants in the wilderness of South Africa where they learn and discuss socio-economic inequalities stemming from the legacy of Apartheid. And Glencree is devoted to not only worldwide education, community-building, and open conversations in the hopes of non-adversarial solutions, but the use of arts and culture to bring people together and all heritages can be equally celebrated!
And lastly, we wanted to talk about the oldest surviving charitable organization in Ireland: The Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers’ Society (the first clue to its age is definitely in the name.) Founded in—get ready—1790!, this organization was created by a group of men working in largely blue collar jobs (rather than the stereotypical upper class philanthropists,) bent on making a charitable organization that served the poorest of their city, regardless of religious affiliation. This group of grocers, carpenters, stonecutters, etc. each originally donated two pence a week for the honor or nominating a person or family in need. Today, the organization has expanded its reach from the territory between two of Dublin’s canals to the whole of the city, and tends to focus on those who need one-off assistance versus the ability to qualify for ongoing state assistance—so they’ve been particularly busy during the pandemic! As a private charity, they’re able to pick who receives their donations on a case by case basis—from helping families pay their bills while their child is in the hospital to buying an elderly couple a bed when they couldn’t afford one when theirs broke. It’s essentially a neighborhood charity for Dublin that looks at the smaller cases versus the bigger picture! (And now anyone can submit an application—for themselves, or others!)
No matter where you choose to donate this year—near home or abroad—we wish all our SRL families the happiest holiday season!
This post is part of a series. Read our last Modern Ireland post, with three additional charitable giving options, here. Check out the blog every Monday and Thursday for more posts about Irish history, dance culture, community news, and spotlights on our dancers, staff, and families—among other fun projects! And don’t forget to dance along with us on both Facebook and Instagram
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