Philanthropist of the Year Awards 2016


The winners of our eighth annual Philanthropist of the Year awards were announced at a luncheon hosted by Marian Finucane in Dublin on the 21st January. This year’s winners are:

  • Carmel and Martin Naughton as National Philanthropists of the Year for their significant and strategic philanthropic investment in many areas of Irish life, including the arts and education;
  • Xilinx as Corporate Philanthropist of the Year for 10 years of strategic community partnership in Ireland. The award was accepted by Kevin Cooney, Managing Director Xilinx EMEA and Global Chief Information Officer;
  • Chuck Feeney and The Atlantic Philanthropies who received The Foundation’s special Brian Wilson Award to recognise the incredible philanthropic contribution made to Ireland through The Atlantic Philanthropies, the organisation he founded and which will come to a close in 2016. The award was accepted by Mary Sutton, Country Director, Republic of Ireland at The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Commenting on the award winners, Tina Roche, CEO, The Community Foundation for Ireland stated:

“This year’s winners are all long-term strategic philanthropists. They have contributed so much and made a significant and memorable impact on this country. With The Atlantic Philanthropies winding down it is good to know that other committed philanthropists, such as The Naughtons and Xilinx, remain. However, strategic philanthropy is still only developing in Ireland so we hope that these winners will inspire others to come forward and adopt a more strategic and sustained approach to giving.”

Carmel and Martin Naughton – National Philanthropists of the Year

Carmel and Martin Naughton are both recipients of the National Philanthropist of the Year Award for 2016. They were nominated by The Royal Irish Academy. Martin Naughton founded Glen Dimplex. Both he and Carmel Naughton have been extremely generous and strategic donors for many years providing enduring support for areas where they are passionate including the arts, education and the promotion of engineering, science and technology. The Naughtons have given significant funding to The National Art Gallery; scholarships in STEM subjects through The Naughton Institute; and have made a major contribution to the history of art and architecture in Ireland through their support for the nominators for this award, The Royal Irish Academy. While Ireland has a strong tradition of charitable giving, it has had relatively few large scale and strategic philanthropists such as Carmel and Martin Naughton.

 Xilinx Ireland – Corporate Philanthropist of the Year 

Founded in 1984, Xilinx is a major US technology multinational with 3,600 employees around the world.  The company is one of Ireland’s leading investment partners where it first established operations in Dublin in 1995.  Xilinx employs 300 at its EMEA headquarters in Dublin where it operates a research, development, engineering and IT centre along with centralised supply, finance, legal and HR functions.  Xilinx also has engineering centres in Cork and Belfast.

The company’s corporate giving programme in Ireland is operated through a three-way partnership between the company, The Silicon Valley Community Foundation and The Community Foundation for Ireland – a partnership which recently celebrated 10 years.

Xilinx was nominated by one of the company’s key community partners in Ireland, Talbot Senior National School Clondalkin, for 10 years of integrated support through ‘The Xilinx Educational Ecosystem’, the anchor programme of The Xilinx Community Fund Europe’.

In total, over $2m has been invested in Ireland to date by Xilinx primarily in projects promoting linked-learning in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics and also around other issues which matter to employees and the community surrounding the Xilinx campus. Employees give through their own voluntarism, personal contributions from payroll, in-house donations and mentoring with local partners.

The company matches employee funds raised and volunteer hours logged, increasing the amount of grant-funding available. Xilinx’ Community partners include Talbot Senior National School, DCU Educational Trust, Maths Week Ireland, Junior Achievement Ireland, IT Tallaght, An Cosán, GOAL, Red Rua Arts Centre and the Peter McVerry Trust.

Chuck Feeney, The Atlantic Philanthropies – Brian Wilson Award 

The Brian Wilson Award is bestowed by The Community Foundation for Ireland in recognition of services to philanthropy. Brian Wilson was a board member of The Community Foundation for Ireland for ten years and sadly passed away in November 2012.

With The Atlantic Philanthropies coming to a close in 2016, The Community Foundation wishes to recognise Chuck Feeney’s incredible philanthropic contribution to Ireland. To date, Atlantic’s grants on the island of Ireland have totalled nearly $2 billion. Over nearly three decades, Chuck Feeney and The Atlantic Philanthropies have supported Irish institutions to galvanise new initiatives and partnerships, bridge divides, take risks with new models and strategies, and diversify and democratise voice.

Examples of grants include the recent $177 million award to Trinity College Dublin and the University of California San Francisco to research dementia. The Atlantic Philanthropies has also been a leading supporter of LGBT issues in Ireland, in partnership with The Community Foundation for Ireland, for many years. It provided long-term strategic support for GLEN, The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network and also founded Marriage Equality, enabling one of the most significant advances in human rights in Ireland in recent years. The Atlantic Philanthropies also funded The Incredible Years programme with Archways, an early years learning organisation designed to prevent and treat emotional and behavioural difficulties in children aged 3 to 10 years.