Diaspora Photographic Exhibition Prize Giving

Cork Foundation were delighted to present the winners of our Cork Home and Away Diaspora Photographic Exhibition competition with their prizes on Monday 26th of February. The chosen five will now go on display in one of Bank of Ireland branches in Midleton, Glanmire or Little Island. The exhibition which was housed in Cork Airport during the lead up to Christmas, was part of our Diaspora strategy with Cork County Council. The purpose of this partnership is to highlight opportunities in local communities throughout Cork. Deputy Mayor Cllr Ian Doyle and Chairperson of Cork Foundation Aine Collins were both in attendance.

Cork Foundations main aim is to connect Cork network globally to support Cork people locally. We were fortunate enough to receive over 200 submissions and from that 75 were chosen to be put on display in both the County Council Offices and Cork Airport over the last few months. From this, five photos and three photographers were chosen as the overall winners of the competition, Martin Duggan, Kaumal Baig and Lorna MacDonald. Our hope is that the exhibition strengthens our connection to Cork by showing what Cork really means to people both at home and abroad.

In speaking of the Exhibition Prize Giving, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Declan Hurley commented; “The Cork County Community Diaspora is a joint initiative between Cork County Council and Cork Foundation and one which has been wonderfully successful. It has provided a fantastic opportunity for Cork parishes to discover their descendants, encourage them to visit while also significantly increasing international awareness of these locations in the first instance.  As Mayor it gives me great pride to see people find their roots in Ireland and especially in Cork. “  

Cork Foundation would like to thank Cork County Council, Cork Airport, Bank of Ireland, Photographer Michael O’Sullivan and of course all the photographers who contributed to making the exhibition a wonderful success.

Chairperson Aine Collins and Deputy Mayor Cllr Ian Doyle pictured with winner Kaumal Baig (centre) at the Prize Giving for our Diaspora Photographic Exhibition in partnership with Cork county Council at Republic of Work, South Mall, Cork
Picture: Michael O’Sullivan/OSM Photo

Cork Foundation would like to congratulate the three winners of our Diaspora Photographic Exhibition Competition for their wonderful contribution. We at the foundation want to reach out even further to our Cork Diaspora and help to connect them with their Cork routes. This exhibition was a great opportunity to do just that. Commented Aine Collins, Chairperson of Cork Foundation.

Cork Foundation are delighted to partner with Cork County Council and looking forward to develop and strengthen our diaspora strategy throughout 2018/2019.” Commented Padraic Vallely, CEO Cork Foundation.



O’Donovan Waste Disposal Announces New Partnership with London GAA

Great news for O’Donovan Waste Disposal, they have just announced that they have committed to a two-year sponsorship agreement with the London GAA County Board. The sponsorship deal will cover both the London Senior football and hurling teams.  ‘O’Donovan are thrilled to back London GAA for the next two years and look forward to working closely with their senior management and the team.’

Launching the new strip London will wear over the next two years, Michael O’Donovan, Chairman said: “As a London Irish company, we look for family and community sponsorship’s to link with our customers and to help build our brand. With multitudes of London GAA supporters and such exciting times ahead, we are delighted to announce this partnership. We are looking forward to a very successful association with London GAA. We would like to wish the London Senior teams in both hurling and football all the luck over the next few years and all at O’Donovan will be cheering you on!!”

John Lacey, Chairman of London County Board, said: “The association with London GAA is a high-profile sporting opportunity, and we are delighted to find partners that share our values and are committed to our teams, clubs and supporters. Irish Waste Disposal is a strong Irish business, with the same commitment to succeed as our players,”




Cork Foundation on a Mission to Support Ludgate Hub

The Cork Foundation, which works with donors in Ireland and overseas to fund social enterprise projects in the Cork region, has announced the Ludgate Hub is to benefit from its fund-raising programmes.

The charity has five fund-raising programmes, Pledge to Cork and the Champions Programme, under which the Ludgate Hub initiative is categorised — as well as Friends of Cork, The Patron Programme, and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Connection.

Established five years ago, the foundation has so far funded 22 projects in the Cork area, according to chief executive Pádraic Vallely, who points to projects such as the Cork Life Centre, an education programme based in Sunday’s Well supporting early school-leavers to finish their state exams, The Field of Dreams on the Curraheen Road, a horticultural training centre for adults with Down Syndrome, and Benchspace on the Marina, which hires carpentry equipment at a reasonable rate to aspiring carpenters, supporting them in setting up their own business.

Ludgate Hub, Cork Foundation, Match Donors, Create Jobs, Give back, CSR Connect, Cork Champions
CEO of Ludgate Hub Adrienne Harrington, at the announcement of the strategic partnership with The Cork Foundation at Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen. Picture: Michael O’Sullivan

The organisation, he explains, connects or “matches” local and international donors to relevant social enterprise projects in the wider Cork community, thus helping to create employment.

“This improves the lives of families and provides an opportunity for successful people to give back to their people, place and heritage,” said Mr Vallely, who added that the Ludgate Hub was considered a “good fit” for the Cork Foundation:

“Ludgate is a social enterprise project which is community driven, community focused and which empowers the creation of jobs in the community. It has made Skibbereen a one-gigabit town, thus encouraging more and more people to live and work there.

This will be a strategic partnership which would, in turn, be part of our fundraising arm — we want to support a total of 45 projects in the next three years and we want to invest €1m in these projects,” he said.

CEO of Ludgate Hub Adrienne Harrington and Team member Elma Connolly at the announcement of the strategic partnership between the Ludgate Hub and The Cork Foundation at the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen. Picture: Michael O’Sullivan

The hub’s mission, meanwhile, is to help create 500 jobs in the West Cork area by 2020,

Mr Vallely emphasised the funding to the Ludgate Hub would very much depend on the level of financial contributions the foundation received from its donors.

“On average, we would expect to put €30,000 into each full-time project, but there’s no guarantee of funding as it all depends on what we receive from our donors.

“We are completely donor-driven and donor-funded across Ireland, UK and the US.”

Last September, the foundation established a committee in London to target funding from London-based donors interested in supporting projects in Cork. It is currently working towards establishing a similar mission in San Francisco.

The London initiative had been very successful to date, Mr Vallely reported: “So far we have been pledged significant contributions towards different projects in Cork.

This article by Ailin Quinlan, is featured in today’s Irish Examiner.


Christmas Jumper Day

In Partnership with Republic of Work Cork Foundation held a Christmas Jumper Day on the 13th of December last from 11am-1pm in aid of Edel House and Cork Path to help combat homelessness in Cork. It was a great event for a very worthy cause. Thank you to everyone attended our event and to those who adorned their Christmas Jumper on the day. We really do appreciate the continued support. 

We would also like to thank our Friends at TAPSTAK, Scoozi’s Restaurant for providing the yummy mince pies, Republic of Work and of Course Edel House  and Cork Path for their tireless work to help fight homelessness in Cork.

If you would like to support The Cork Foundation and give back to one of our worthy projects you can text FRIEND to to 50300 to donate. Text costs €4. Cork Foundation will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278. All donations are welcome and very much appreciated. 


Tapping into Cork!





Cork Foundation are excited to partner with TAPSTAK, a small innovative group based in Cork whose aim is to simplify the lives of smartphone users. With TAPSTAK on your smartphone, users can Vote, Pay, Reply and Order at the tap of a button. It’s all about making things easier to engage with for the people of Cork and beyond!

Michelle Donovan, TAPSTAK’S Operations Officer says “We’re delighted to become Friends of the Cork Foundation. It’s a fantastic initiative that is doing excellent work for Cork. As a Cork based company, we’re delighted to be working with the Cork Foundation team and it’s great to have the Cork Foundation on TAPSTAK to allow people to donate, support and contact the Foundation at the tap of a button. We are looking forward to attending and supporting more great events with the Foundation in 2018!”

TAPSTAK first came on board with the Foundation towards the end of 2017. They were a great asset when holding our Christmas Jumper Day in aid of Edel House and Cork Path last December. They made it a lot easier for the people of Cork to give back and donate to the growing epidemic that is homelessness in Cork. They strongly believe in connecting people and their product allows users to do this more easily.

Cork Foundations CEO, Padraic Vallely says. “TAPSTAK are a wonderful Cork based company with a great initiative and we are thrilled to have them as Friends of the Foundation. Similarly, to Cork Foundation TAPSTAK endeavour to connect and improve the lives of Cork people. We look forward to working with them in 2018.”

The TAPSTAK app is available to download free on both Apple and Android Stores. If you would like to learn more about TAPSTAK and how to use it, you can visit their website


Cork Foundation’s London Community Launch


Cork Foundation were delighted to launch the first International Community in London on Thursday 28th of September, kindly hosted by Ambassador of Ireland to the UK Adrian O’Neill. Cork Foundation, whose main aim is to connect Cork network globally to support Cork people locally.  This non-profit organisation matches local and international donors to social enterprise projects, creating sustainable jobs, improving lives and providing the mechanism to give back in a meaningful way.  The long-term plan is to establish international communities in nine different cities, London being the first and then utilising these overseas networks and engaging the Cork diaspora so that vital funds can be raised for worthy projects and organisations in the Cork region.



Over 150 people attended the launch which took place at the Embassy of Ireland. It was a great opportunity for individuals and businesses to see the real impact that the Cork Foundation is having as well as how they too can get involved and keep connected to Cork. Ambassador O’Neill, as well as London Community President Michael Collins were in attendance.


Irish Ambassador Adrian O’Neill. Picture by Malcolm McNally, The Irish Post

Ambassador O’Neill said, “I am delighted to host the Cork Foundation’s first International Community event. The work being done by the Foundation is an excellent example of how connecting with Ireland’s global diaspora can create lasting and meaningful change all over Ireland. As Ireland’s largest county, it is only fitting that Cork should have such a strong link to one of the largest centres of Ireland’s overseas community. I look forward to seeing the positive contribution made by the overseas networks created by the Cork Foundation.”


 Michael Collins said, “I am privileged to have seen first-hand some of the projects that the Cork Foundation supports. These projects are having a real and positive benefit on people’s lives. The Cork community in London are well known for their generosity and they now have the opportunity to “give back” to Cork by supporting the fundraising efforts of the Cork Foundation.”


CEO Padraic Vallely said “We were thrilled to launch our International Community in London because there is such a connection to Cork here. Cork Foundation wants to engage with Irish people who have left our shores and show them that there is a meaningful way they can give back to their community from where they come.”


Cork Foundation London Community President Michael Collins.


The event was attended by London based businesses and community leaders with a strong link to Ireland and Cork. The organisation offers people a practical and meaningful way to contribute to their community back home. The evening also allowed individuals and other organisations to come together to see how best we can all continue to have a positive effect on Cork in the future.


Chairperson and founder of the Cork Foundation Aine Collins said, “Irish people abroad see themselves as part of the Irish community and that is a national asset that we’ve never really focused on. Tonight, wouldn’t have been possible without the Ambassador O’Neill and we thank him and his team so much for all of the support and for hosting this event that is so significant for the growth of the organisation”

 Cllr Ian Doyle, Deputy Mayor of Cork county, Cllr John Sheehan, Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork city and Niall Healy from Cork County Council are pictured with Bill Taylor, Mary O’Brien, Geraldine Curtin, Hilda O’Brien, Mary Wood and Larry O’Leary from the Cork Asc London. Picture by Malcolm McNally, The Irish Post


The event was a tremendous success and signified the start of more international community events to come.  The organisation’s diaspora strategy hopes to deliver economic benefit through investment in social enterprises throughout Cork City and county and to inspire Irish people abroad to stay connected to Cork.






Cork Champions – Cork Foundation Chairperson, Aine Collins

Áine Collins Chairperson of Cork Foundation.
Picture: Darragh Kane

Over the next few weeks and months we are going to introduce you to individuals who have really been champions in Cork Businesses. These people will include the members of the board of Cork Foundation. This is an opportunity for you to get to know who they are and what they do for Cork.

The Cork Foundation is an organisation which was established in 2013 as a registered charity. Their objective is to match donors to social enterprises who through this funding, can create sustainable jobs and have a positive impact on local communities. The board works together to help deliver projects and create sustainable jobs in the Social Enterprise sector across Cork City and County.

Áine Collins, a former TD for Cork North West is the Chairperson of the Cork Foundation. She also has her own consulting business called Blueprint Consulting, offering advice and support to medium size companies. Aine was the founder of the Cork Foundation to begin with. Back in 2009 she got the idea when she was mentoring transition year students for Millstreet Community School, which was under the supervision of Jerry Kennelly and run out of Tralee IT, helping them with a project which was all about starting up a new business. It was on a particular day called the blue skies day, which had about 700 17-year-olds in a room and the energy was amazing that businessman Denis O’Brien, one of the speakers talked about the fact that there are 70 million people around the world who call themselves Irish. He also reflected on the fact that as he was building Digicel in the south pacific the work that Irish brothers and sister had done to help develop these counties meant that they were very grateful to Ireland, as some of these counites business and political leaders had been educated by Irish Missionary.

   Mary Galvin, Chairperson Aine Collins and Leah Fleming at the first HackForGood 


This got her thinking about how best to connect with these Irish people abroad and on what an impact this little country of ours has had on the rest of the world. She says that she felt a shiver down her spine when she heard about what Irish people had contributed to the rest of the world. From then on, she saw this as an untapped resource that no one had done anything about. She started the conversation and realised of course that we have all been affected my immigration and by people leaving our shores. That conversation, as well as getting people around the table is what led to the creation of the Cork Foundation. Cork seemed like the perfect place to start as Aine is from Cork herself and because the largest diaspora in Ireland is also from Cork.

Aine believes that there is a huge benefit in connecting with our diaspora because it gives people who have left Ireland a link to home and an opportunity to give back to their own community. This contribution can be a financial one or it can be through donating their time or simply recognising the impact Ireland has had worldwide. Aine say’s “people who have left Ireland, first, second, third generation, they still see themselves as Irish. There are a lot of people who would like to help but they don’t know how”

Aine sees that connecting with so many people can sometimes be a struggle, as everyone has busy lives but that is the challenge that the foundation faces. Technology is fantastic of course and a great resource but it is also important that there is a real presence both here and abroad, so people know who we are and how they can get involved. It is important that we reach out to people and gather their stories as well as information. Aine says, Irish people abroad see themselves as part of the Irish community and that is a national asset that we’ve never really focused on.”

Aine Collins, Chairperson Cork Foundation, Colette Quinn, Shine Centre for Autism, Mary Galvin, Leah Flemming and Padraic Vallely, Cork Foundation pictured at the presentation of cheques from the live crowding event where €12,000 was pledged for non profit support from businesses in Cork.
Photo Joleen Cronin

According to Aine reaching out and helping Social Enterprises to grow in Ireland is also very important for the foundation. It can be a great way of connecting with people in the community. “Social enterprise can solve a lot of our social problems in different communities” she remarks. These enterprises can help to aid the community around us and help it from dying out as we move into a more digital world. We still need social enterprise organisations so that people can socialise, meet and communicate with each other. However, they do need funding and many people aren’t even aware that social enterprises do struggle to survive. That is where the Cork Foundation can step in. We can be the eyes and ears for Irish people at home and abroad, helping to keep their home place vibrant. Aine says, “if you can give people help with investment you can create sustainable jobs and this improves lives”

All the organisations that the Cork Foundation helps to fund have a special place in Aine’s heart. She does however especially mention how proud she is of the work done to help fund the Cork Life Centre as there is a huge need to help young people who have fallen out of the educational system. Aine explains that this organisation has changed many young people’s lives forever as well as their family and their environment. She says, The Cork Life Centre are so passionate and we all know that If we can help people when they are young it has a huge impact on their future

Setting up the Cork Foundation and developing it is, Aine says has been an incredible passionate journey and would not be possible without the help of so many other people it is a huge achievement to get it thus far. She says it is great to see our number two employee starting and continuing to see the organisation grow. She is immensely proud of the work that the foundation has done so far. She explains that at times it seemed impossible but now she feels confident about the future and where the foundation is headed. Aine says “We are still the only organisation in the country who is focused on building our diaspora and helping social enterprise. It is unique!”  She hopes that the Cork Foundation will become a model that others will look at and say we can do this too. Aine wishes to grow the foundation so that it can operate in Europe and Asia in the future, as well as the UK and the US. For now, though she is focused, as are the other members of the board on growing the foundation at home and launching our first network in London in September 2017 as well as making a positive difference to those involved.



HackforGood – Part 2

Applications are now open


Cork Foundation are delighted to announce Cork’s second Hack for Good will take place on Friday 13th of October from 8am-8pm in REPUBLIC OF WORK, 12 South Mall, Cork.


#HackForGood was a one-day event, which took place on May 12th 2017, whereby five causes; charities and social enterprises got an online makeover through the skills of volunteers. €40,000 worth of services and time were donated by the Cork business community, for worthy projects including,  Benchspace, Path Trust, Rebel Wheelers & Down Syndrome Centre Cork.

Cork Foundation with Down Syndrome Centre Cork, one of the successful projects chosen for HackforGood

This October, Five Cork causes will again be given the opportunity to develop their online presence with the help of a voluntary team of graphic/web designers, marketers and programmers.  

As demonstrated in the inaugural #HackForGood we were overwhelmed with the support of the tech community giving back to worthy Cork organisations.We are calling on projects across Cork city and County to apply for this unique opportunity to enhance and develop your online presence. Applications are now open, so get hacking and get giving” commented CEO of Cork Foundation Padraic Vallely

Applications are now open for charities and social enterprises to be selected for the online makeover. Charities, Companies or individuals interested in taking part can apply online: or email:

Cork Foundation, Republic of Work, HACKFORGOOD2
Pictured from left to right Aisling Weldon,Republic of Work, Padraic Vallely CEO Cork Foundation and Ella Griffin Republic of Work announcing Cork’s second #HACKFORGOOD taking place October 13th.


We are calling on the Cork business community for their support. This is an opportunity for individuals and organisations to give back to community/voluntary groups from Cork City and County. If you are interested in getting involved and volunteering you can email


General Manager of REPUBLIC OF WORK, Frank Brennan added “Republic of Work were delighted to be involved in Hack for Good back in May and look forward to #HackForGood 2 this October. There was enormous support shown by Cork businesses, especially the development/design agencies and freelance community that got involved to give back to Cork communities”.


Hackforgood, cork foundation, republicofwork


Cork Life Centre – Student Profile William

William had a rocky beginning in mainstream education. He joined the Life Centre in 2014 as a 3rd year student, two years ago. He is eagerly anticipating his return in September. He described his relationship with the centre as “too strong, it is unbelievable – it’s not just another school this is a family. It has changed my life as well as my families.”

In 2008 After budget cuts, the Cork Life Centre lost all funding from the department of education. However, the centre has still managed to grow and continue to help all the students that pass through its doors. “The donations we receive benefit the students and the teachers so much.” Last year William went to Calcutta in India to help street children, an opportunity he may not have had if he had stayed in a mainstream school. “I am so grateful, it is hard to talk about and explain the experience but it has completely changed my outlook on life, the children have so little but are still so grateful for everything they have.”

The 17 year old is determined to sit his leaving certificate and has aspirations about becoming professionally involved with mixed martial arts. At the tender age of 17 William has already won 6 national titles in MMA and Jiu-jitsu and is currently preparing for the World and European Championships next year.

The Cork Life Centre works to provide services to those students who felt distant from the mainstream education system and to give young people across Cork a second chance at succeeding in a school environment. Deputy director Rachel Lucey says “the developments which have been made as a result of the funding from the Cork Foundation have been consistent and have helped to improve the lives of so many young people throughout Cork city and county.” The centre wants to see their students get a step closer to their aspirations and dreams.



Cork Home and Away

As part of Cork County Council and Cork Foundation Diaspora Strategy, we are delighted to announce Cork Foundation inaugural photo exhibition. This is part of a year long strategy with Cork County Council, linking with Corks diaspora.

The exhibition will take place October 26th at Cork County Council , and the exhibition will run for a week in Cork County Council main foyer.

We are calling Cork people  at home and abroad to submit their photos, highlighting what Cork means to you.

What does Cork really mean to you?

The photos must be sent in jpeg format because they are being submitted by email and be no less than 300 ppi. They must also be submitted by the 21st of August to or

If you would like to hear more about this inaugural photographic competition, you can email me at

One of Cork Foundation main aims is to reach out to the Cork Diaspora, and give them an opportunity to give back to their parish, community and town in Cork. By investing in social enterprises we are making a substantial difference to communities across Cork.


Cork Foundation, Cork County Council , Diaspora, Photographic Exhibition, Cork Home and Away