The American Ireland Fund History
The American Ireland Fund (AIF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that assists the island of Ireland and Irish-related causes in the United States. For over 35 years the organization has been recognized for the support it has given to community development, peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, and education in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The American Ireland Fund identifies worthy organizations that are active in these areas and provides grants to support their work.
In 1976, Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team along with fellow Pittsburgh businessman Anthony J.F. O’Reilly created what was then The Ireland Fund. With a trinity of goals - peace, culture and charity - The Ireland Fund appealed for support for Ireland and its people from all Americans, but especially those of Irish descent. Today, Dan Rooney serves as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland.Over the following decade, The Ireland Fund formed a thriving fundraising network of chapters in cities across the U.S. including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Palm Beach, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington D.C. Today, The Worldwide Ireland Funds are active in 12 countries around the world.
On St. Patrick's Day 1987, The Ireland Fund and the American Irish Foundation, founded by Irish President Eamonn De Valera and U.S. President John F. Kennedy, merged at a White House ceremony to form The American Ireland Fund.