BOSTON — Corporate leaders, politicians and friends of Ireland gathered for the 41st Boston Gala of The Ireland Funds, in support of charitable, cultural and educational causes in Ireland and to assist local organizations in Massachusetts. This year’s Boston Gala, held at the Westin Copley Place, honored Massachusetts Governor Charles D. Baker, Jr. and Putnam Investments President and Chief Executive Officer Robert L. “Bob” Reynolds with The Ireland Funds Distinguished Leadership Award.
While the focus of The Ireland Funds of course is on Ireland, it increasingly has been supporting local charities here in Massachusetts – Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, Camp Harbor View, Small Business Strong, to name a few.
Bob Reynolds is a former Boston Gala chair who has personally hosted Ireland Funds events with his wife, Laura. Bob can talk about why the Ireland Funds’ work remains vital – both in Ireland and here in the U.S.
“On one night each year Boston becomes the world capital of Ireland, bringing together good friends to support philanthropic causes in Ireland and here in Massachusetts,” said gala chair Edmund F. Murphy III, president and CEO of Empower. “With the second-highest percentage of Americans of Irish descent of any state, Massachusetts has always been a strong supporter of causes in our ancestral homeland, and tonight’s event underscores how powerful that commitment remains through the generations.”
Governor Charlie Baker said, “The Ireland Funds has been a leader in investing in communities in Ireland and here in Massachusetts, and I am honored to be awarded this year’s Distinguished Leadership Award. I am also proud to congratulate Bob Reynolds, former chair of the Boston Gala, who has opened his home and his heart to The Ireland Funds, for receiving this award tonight.”
Added Reynolds, “I’m humbled to be recognized at this year’s Boston Gala. I am especially pleased that this year’s Boston Gala also honors Governor Charlie Baker, who has been a champion of the charitable causes supported by The Ireland Funds, both here in Massachusetts and in Ireland.”
Among the initiatives in Ireland supported by The Ireland Funds is the “No Mind Left Behind” Scholarship Program, which awards scholarships to young people from areas of significant economic disadvantage so they can pursue post-high school education. In 2022-23, the program supported approximately 255 students in 22 academic institutions.
The support provided through The Ireland Funds this year also includes grants from The Ireland Funds Heart of the Community Fund to more than 100 communities in Ireland as well as such timely initiatives as The Ireland Funds Ukrainian Relief Fund, which is assisting the more than 63,000 Ukrainian refugees who have sought shelter in Ireland during the current crisis.
In Massachusetts, The Ireland Funds provide grants to local charities including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, Cristo Rey Boston High School, Rian Immigrant Center and the Irish Pastoral Center.
Governor Charlie Baker, who has been a longtime friend of The Ireland Funds, is being recognized for his many years of public service, leadership at the local, state and national levels and his dedication to the common good. Bob Reynolds is a well-known civic leader in the Commonwealth who has supported events that have raised millions of dollars for The Ireland Funds and the causes it advances over the past 20 years.
ABOUT THE IRELAND FUNDS
The Ireland Funds is a global philanthropic network. Established in 1976, The Ireland Funds’ mission is to harness the power of a global network of friends of Ireland to promote and support peace, culture, education and community development throughout the island of Ireland and among Irish communities around the world. With chapters in 12 countries, The Ireland Funds has provided support to more than 3,200 deserving organizations across the globe.
All photos by Bill Brett