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Brendan O’Carroll awarded Philanthropist honour

By Ann Marie Foley - 27 January, 2015

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Brendan O’Carroll has been named as one of the National Philanthropists of the Year for his work with St Vincent de Paul and other charities.

On Friday, the much loved actor and comedian, who portrays the TV character Mrs Brown, was named among winners of this year’s Philanthropist of the Year Award.

BNY Mellon was awarded Corporate Philanthropist of the Year for their work with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABI) Wexford.

The special Brian Wilson Award went to Jim and Adeline Callery for their contribution to projects in Co Roscommon, including the Irish National Famine Museum.

“This year’s winners highlight the impact sustained long-term giving can have on a specific cause or issue,” said Tina Roche, CEO of the Community Foundation for Ireland which organises the annual awards.

“Philanthropy is from both the head and the heart; it is truly planned giving. It focuses on results, on the longer term and on the sustainable.”

“We hope these recipients will inspire and challenge others to give in a planned and strategic way, such as by setting up a corporate, family or personal fund with The Community Foundation for Ireland.”

Brendan O’Carroll

Brendan O’Carroll

Brendan O’Carroll privately donates to good causes.

However, in 2013 following a decline in money given to charities in the wake of the Central Remedial Clinic scandal, he went public about donations of €125,000 each to the St Vincent de Paul and Irish Autism Action from ticket sales of his Mrs Brown’s Boys O2 production.

He also personally donated €100,000 to St Vincent de Paul, choosing to go public to show his continued support for the charities in a bid to encourage others to continue their support (see CatholicIreland.net News 17 December, 2013).

Brendan O’Carroll has often spoken of his early childhood when what he called ‘kind uncles, Vincent and Paul’ came to visit and ensure his mother had enough fuel and food.

He has stated that the support he gives the St Vincent de Paul today does not equate to the difference they made to his family’s circumstances during his childhood.

He told RTE Radio 1 News that his donation to SVP for Christmas involved giving people vouchers so they could go and shop for themselves.

He stressed the need to give a ‘leg up’ or to enable people rather than offering a hand out.

In interviews after the awards and referring to child poverty he said, “There is no reason that we shouldn’t have completely free education. When politicians knock at your door running for election ask them what are they going to do about that, and what are they going to do about homelessness.”

He supports other charities including, DEBRA Ireland that helps patients and families living with the debilitating skin condition epidermolysis bullosa, the Grace Nolan Foundation, a charity formed by Brendan’s friends, Michael and June Nolan whose daughter Grace, died aged 9 from Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin.

BNY Mellon is a global leader in investment management and investment services, and has provided more than €60, 000 through direct donations, team-oriented volunteering, and employee and company matched fundraising to establish The Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Ireland Clubhouse Day Resource Service in Wexford.

The Clubhouse, which would not be there without BNY Mellon, provides support for individuals and families affected by ABI, and offers information and training events to the wider community.

The Brian Wilson Award was presented for the first time in remembrance and recognition of The Community Foundation for Ireland, Chairperson 2008-2011, Brian Wilson who passed away in November 2012.

The Foundation decided to award it to Jim and Adeline Callery. Jim Callery brought the Scania franchise to Ireland in the mid –seventies.

Recognising that people involved in local community efforts in their own areas often find it very difficult to raise funds, in 2004, Jim and his wife Adeline set up ‘The Callery Family Fund’ at The Community Foundation for Ireland to assist local community projects, especially in his native Roscommon.

The fund has helped with restoration of Strokestown Park House, and the creation of the Irish National Famine Museum.

The Community Foundation for Ireland works with philanthropists and ensures that their charitable donations make the most impact and are administered with proper governance.

It manages over 50 funds and since its foundation in 2000, which have awarded over €20m to community groups and charities throughout Ireland.

Grants of more than €3.7 million were issued on behalf of donors in 2014 to charities and community groups, the highest annual amount distributed to date.

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