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  • Children’s hospital looks to diaspora in funding shortfall

    Thursday, October 14th, 2010

    The head of the development board for the new National Children’s Hospital has said that she expects to launch a global campaign targeting the Irish diaspora to meet a €110 million funding shortfall.

    The hospital, now due to open in 2015, will cost €650 million euro. The State is putting up €450 million while €90 million will come from in-hospital commercial activities such as parking and shops.

    The Irish Independent reports:

    But a “capital campaign” involving high-level networking by experts to secure “major gifts” from wealthy donors — including Ireland’s diaspora community in the United States — will be launched globally.

    Asked if she was confident of raising the funds [Hospital Board Chief Executive Eilish Hardiman] said: “The board has taken its remit very seriously. . . we will be looking to the diaspora.”

    “It is a highly specialised area. We have three years and you do it first in a quiet way and then to the point where there is a pledge for the project.

    “I think when it comes to philanthropy that it is very important that they see the plans and see the progress — it is linked to how the project is progressing.”

    The concept of fundraising among the diaspora is nothing new of course – the Croi West of Ireland Cardiac Foundation has had a particularly high profile among the Irish abroad, for example. And The Ireland Funds says it has raised over $350 million since 1976 for worthy causes in Ireland around the world, with $210 million in the last 15 years, supporting 1,200 projects in Ireland.

    But those numbers still seem a challenge. News reports don’t say what percentage of the funds the hospital is hoping to raise from the diaspora, but if it’s taken the Ireland Funds – a gigantic, expertly-run philanthropic machine operating in 12 countries – the last 15 years to raise $210 million (about €150 million), €110 million in three years would seem to be an enormously challenging target for one project – particularly in a period of global recession and at a time of increasing demands on the diaspora.

    Though perhaps all of Ireland’s increased efforts to engage with the diaspora will pay off with ever-rising philanthropic contributions – it will be interesting to watch how this progresses.

    See more on diaspora philanthropy:

    Diaspora Philanthropy: Private Giving and Public Policy (Published by the Migration Policy Institute in association with US Aid)