The Ireland Funds

If you’re not aware of The Ireland Funds read on to get to know about them…

They are a charitable organisation operating in 12 countries that has raised over $300 million for worthy causes. Founded in Pittsburgh in 1976, they manage over 100 events annually in 39 cities around the world making them one of the largest global organisations helping Ireland.

Extremely well versed in the area of diaspora philanthropy they have funded over 1,200 organisations in Ireland and beyond, and as a thought leader in the area of diaspora engagement are actively contributing to the body of knowledge in the field of diaspora studies.

The Ireland Funds

Their mission is ‘to be the largest worldwide network of people of Irish ancestry and friends of Ireland dedicated to raising funds to support programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community development throughout the island of Ireland’.

They are a highly effective organisation that are at the heart of great projects such as this.

‘A Comparative Review of International Diaspora Strategies’ is the title of their new report, and it is an in-depth study of strategies from other countries, most notably Israel and India. The report provides guidance and recommendations on how Ireland can best engage with its diaspora in the 21st century.

The timing coincides with the Global Irish Economic Forum to be held in Farmleigh this coming week-end (18th – 19th September), and given The Ireland Funds wealth of knowledge the guest list would do well to have a copy in their hands.

I was going to try and summarise the report whilst trying to reflect its excellence, but it’s hard to do this and still do it justice. The document is approximately 100 pages in length, and the depth it goes into makes each of the sections highly informative. There is a focus on economics and mutual benefit, but it also keeps sight of cultural ties and Irelands relationship with its diaspora at a broader level.

You can download the report here, and i’ve included the contents below to give you an idea of the scope:

Section 1
Background to diaspora strategies
Defining diaspora: common trends and recent developments

Section 2
Ireland’s current context
The Smart Economy – a role for the diaspora?

Section 3
Ireland and its diaspora
A long history of migration
Capturing the Irish diaspora: extended citizenship
The diversity of our diaspora
Examining and redefining the relationship
A diffuse and diverse national asset
Where can the diaspora help?

Section 4
Key lessons from other countries

Section 5
International diaspora initiatives
Developments in diaspora engagement: a comparative review of strategies and initiatives
Research and data
Capital flows – remittances
Capital flows – bonds
Capital flows – philanthropy
Capital flows – foreign direct investment
Capital flows – venture capital and support for indigenous industry
Diaspora knowledge networks
Importance of educational exchange
Visits to the homeland
Engaging various generations
Recognition and awards

Section 6
Differing roles of government

Section 7
Culture matters

Section 8
Global best practices: conclusions for Ireland

You’ll need to put aside a bit of time, but if this is an area that interests you it’s well worth the read. And well done to The Ireland Funds for producing the report – it will be a fantastic development if the relevant parties take it on board, and incorporate it into a plan of action.

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