The Winners of the Philanthropist of the Year Award

BITCI News - Feb 04, 2014

Our sister BITCorganisation ,The Community Foundation for Ireland, are delighted to announce the winners of the sixth Philanthropist of the Year awards that were presented at a luncheon in Dublin last week hosted by RTÉ broadcaster Marian Finucane.This year’s Philanthropist of the Year Award winners are; Keith Duffy as National Philanthropist of the Year for his work with Irish Autism Action, Diageo Ireland as Corporate Philanthropist of the Year for The Arthur Guinness Fund and in addition the inaugural Brian Wilson Award was made posthumously to Hugh O’Regan.

The awards, run by The Community Foundation were established to recognise the extraordinary generosity and leadership of philanthropists in the country by celebrating strategic and planned giving. The January 29th episode of RTÉ’s Nationwide featured the awards and importantly the impact that Keith Duffy’s and Diageo Ireland’s strategic and planned giving has had. For those of you who may have missed it click here. The above winners join other well known philanthropists such as Vodafone, JP Mc Manus, Mark FitzGerald, Declan Ryan and Chantal McCabe in being awarded the accolade. This year’s philanthropists were nominated by their peers, by members of the communities in which they work and by the non-profit organisations that they support. The final decision being taken by independent adjudicator, Deirdre Purcell.

Here at The Community Foundation for Ireland we work with philanthropists to connect them to causes they care about and ensure that their charitable donations are impactful and administered within the highest standards of governance. The Foundation now manages over 50 funds. Last year alone, five new funds were set and the total amount on endowment with the Foundation currently stands at €33 million. Grants totalling €3.5 million were issued on behalf of donors in 2013 to charities and community groups, the highest annual amount distributed to date.

Details on the winners and links to really powerful video’s conveying the imapct Keith Duffy’s and Diageo Ireland’s philanthropic giving have had are presented below.

Keith Duffy – National Philanthropist of the Year

Keith started fundraising for Irish Autism Action (IAA) after his daughter Mia was diagnosed with autism at 18 months — a disability that affects the normal development of the brain in areas of social interaction and communication. As an IAA board member to date he has raised an estimated €4m working tirelessly in supporting early diagnosis and appropriate education for children with autism as a vital intervention. Through Mia, Keith witnessed what he describes as the ‘‘miracle’’ effect of Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA), for the early treatment of Autism when Mia walked through the gates of Rolestown National School, a mainstream school in Swords in 2007. He believes her progress was made possible because she got the chance to attend ABACAS in Kilbarrack, North Dublin, a school that uses the Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) method, a personalised one-on-one programme which involves breaking down normal tasks, such as getting dressed, into small achievable steps. Working with charities such as IAA, Special Provision for the Education of Autistic Children (SPEAC) and the National Autistic Society (NAS) Keith realised his vision of having increased accessibility for ABA treatment in an area where government intervention and funding is severely limited, by helping to open 13 ABA schools in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.


Click here to watch Keith’s impact on early diagnosis and appropriate intervention for autism in Ireland


Diageo Ireland – Corporate Philanthropist of the Year

Diageo Ireland’s roots stretch back over two and a half centuries and a culture of corporate philanthropy, initiated by the Guinness family still runs throughout the organisation. Arthur Guinness’ legacy is evident throughout Dublin, and today a new era of philanthropy bears his name. Through the Arthur Guinness Fund, (AGF) Diageo have adopted a focus on social enterprise as opposed to solely charity making, sure that supported projects are viable in to the future.  The Arthur Guinness Fund is an innovative investment vehicle that supports the big ideas and the passion for community of social entrepreneurs, furthering the philanthropic legacy of Arthur Guinness and the Guinness family. The Fund helps social entrepreneurs deliver measurable, transformational change to communities in Ireland and worldwide. Established in 2009 to help mark the 250th anniversary of Guinness, over €6.5m was initially invested in the fund. Last year (2013) the fund awarded €1m and a package of practical support and mentoring to 10 Irish social entrepreneurs. The Fund acts as a springboard to enable social entrepreneurs to take their initiatives to the next level and to make their vision a reality. In addition to financial support, the company has also provided professional supports included a range of marketing and PR mentoring from a very passionate and committed team at Diageo.

Click here to watch the impact of Diageo Ireland’s philanthropic support of social entrepreneurship .

Hugh O’Regan –  Brian Wilson Award

This is the first year the Brian Wilson Award will be presented in remembrance and recognition of The Community Foundation for Ireland, Chairperson 2008-2011, 10 year serving board member and enthusiastic philanthropist, Brian Wilson who passed away in November 2012. The award is presented by The Community Foundation for Ireland in recognition of services to philanthropy. The Foundation has decided to award the inaugural Brian Wilson Award to Hugh O’Regan who also died in November 2012. Hugh was a true philanthropic visionary who was willing to invest his own time and money in a wide range of innovative initiatives across education, the arts, local development and overseas aid.

Picture Captions:

The Community Foundation for Ireland announces the winners of the sixth annual Philanthropist of the Year Awards. Angela Smith, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Diageo Ireland, Lisa Duffy, wife of keith Duffy and David Smith, Country Director Diageo Ireland with Tina Roche, CEO, The Community Foundation for Ireland.