Cork Foundation’s Diaspora Photographic Exhibition arrives in Cobh

Cork Foundation’s Diaspora Photographic Exhibition has moved to Cobh. Thanks to the Port of Cork, all through the month of August people visiting Cobh will be treated to some beautiful shots of Cork City and County. Thank you to all those who came along including some of the photographers, to help us to celebrate our exhibitions new home.

The exhibition is part of Cork Foundations Diaspora strategy in partnership with Cork County Council. The Foundation aims to strengthen the connection between people who have left Ireland. To mark the launch of the exhibition we hosted a reception last Tuesday 31st of July at Cobh Maritime.

Opening of Cork Foundation’s Diaspora Photographic Exhibition at Cobh Maritime Centre
Picture: Niamh Whitty/OSM Photo

Cork Foundation CEO Aine Collins says, We would like to thank Minister David Stanton and everyone at the Port of Cork for joining us on the day. We are very proud of the exhibition and we hope that those visiting our shores will enjoy it too.  

Minister of State in the Department of Justice and Equality David Stanton says, “I am delighted to help support Cork Foundation in their endeavor to reinforce the connection of those who leave Ireland, to their Irish roots. This exhibition allows visitors to rediscover what they love about Cork.”


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.


Connecting Rural Communities

The Cork Foundation, who connect with the Cork network globally, to support Cork people locally are delighted to become a strategic partner with Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen. This exciting new venture, who opened their doors in August of 2016, is located in the South West of Ireland. The Ludgate Hub utilises the digital age for job creation and innovation. Ludgate aims to facilitate up to 75 people in a creative co-working environment with a long-term objective of creating 500 jobs for this rural area in Cork. The idea is to harness all the talent that West Cork and our international diaspora has to offer.

It is a glowing example of the type of innovation occurring in rural communities. Similarly, to Cork Foundation Ludgate are focused on engaging with the Irish Diaspora and in facilitating job growth in West Cork. They aim to do this using digital technology. We are all aware that due to the advancement in technology, the world we live in has gotten smaller. The Ludgate Hub aims to bring jobs back to West Cork and connectivity appears to be the key to this initiative. Ludgate hopes to be a blueprint for other rural towns. Their vision is to make rural areas in Cork a hotspot for technology start-ups.

Cork Foundation are excited to work together with Ludgate Hub to help foster the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in West Cork. By partnering with Ludgate, this reinforces Cork Foundations focus on creating jobs, empowering the community and giving back to Cork.

Chairperson of Cork Foundation Aine Collins stated at the announcement: “This is a very exciting initiative for Cork Foundation, and we are calling on Cork people around the world to support this unique and inspiring project”

Adrienne Harrington, CEO of the Ludgate Hub stated ‘We at Ludgate are delighted to partner with the Cork Foundation, an organisation that shares many of the same values. This new relationship will allow Cork people, living both in Ireland and abroad to support the work that we are doing at Ludgate in a very real way.’

CEO of Cork Foundation, Padraic Vallely stated. “This is a prime example of the projects that Cork Foundation support, a community which is creating jobs, but also giving back to the community. We look forward to engaging and exploring all these possibilities with Ludgate.”

If you would like to find out any other information about the Ludgate Hub log onto their website or contact one of the Cork Foundation team, we would be happy to assist you.




Home and Away Diaspora Exhibition Takes Off to Cork Airport

Cork Foundations inaugural photographic Exhibition, Cork Home and Away has moved location. It is now on display in Cork Airport so that more visitors to our shores can see the beautiful sights of Cork. To celebrate this move we hosted a drinks reception on Wednesday 22nd of November at Cork Airport.

The County Mayor Declan Hurley and the Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald were both in attendance. As was Cork Foundation CEO Padraic Valelly.

“We are delighted to partner with Cork Foundation as part of our Diaspora strategy. It has been an exciting year so far, we have held four Diaspora training sessions and trained over 100 people. We have also helped to bring an extra 500,000 euro into our local communities. We are excited to see what next year has in store and we hope that more and more people will reconnect with their Cork routes”, Commented Declan Hurley, Cork County Mayor.

“It is great to see the impact that Cork Foundation is having on the local Community. It is so important that funds go back into local projects in Cork and continue to help to grow social enterprise in both Cork City and County”, Commented Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald.

Cork Foundations main aim is to connect Cork network globally to support Cork people locally. We are thrilled that we can help to show case all that Cork has to offer through these wonderful images of Cork city and county. We hope that the many visitors to Cork will enjoy them as much as we have.

The Cork Foundation is about Cork people and those with an affinity to Cork. It has been wonderful to partner with Cork County Council as they share our vision for Cork. We want to connect even more people with their Cork routes and help to give back to Cork in a meaningful way,” Commented Cork Foundation CEO Padraic Valelly.

We would like to thank Cork Airport for allowing us to continue displaying our photographic exhibition to the people of Cork. We would also like to thank Bank of Ireland and photographer Michael O’Sullivan for helping us with our prize giving and of course to all the photographers who submitted their beautiful photographs.


Home and Away Diaspora Photographic Exhibition

Cork Foundation was delighted, as part of our Diaspora strategy with Cork County Council, to host our inaugural photographic exhibition competition, Cork Home and Away on Thursday 26th of October in Cork County Council Offices.

COO Padraic Vallely who was in attendance commented, “We are delighted to be partnering with Cork County Council on this unique event. It is so important to reach out to Cork people at home and away, and connect and link back with their Cork heritage.”

Cork Foundations main aim is to connect Cork network globally to support Cork people locally and their was no better way than to show case all the talent that Cork has to offer. Even when people leave our shores they still keep these images of the most iconic places in Cork with them and we wanted to celebrate that at this event. It was a great opportunity to find out what Cork really means to people.

No matter how long it’s been when people leave Ireland, first, second, third generation, they still see themselves as Irish. This exhibition gives people the opportunity to celebrate their Cork roots”  Commented Aine Collins, Chairperson of Cork Foundation.

The Mayor of Cork County also commented: “The Cork County Community Diaspora is a joint initiative between Cork County Council &Cork Foundation and we are looking forward to play an active role in reaching out and connecting with our international diaspora.”

To find out more about how you can engage with our Diaspora strategy please contact one of the team.


Tee off for Cork

Fundraising Golf Day, Fr Murphys GAA, Cork Foundation, Field of Dreams


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.