CELTIC FC Foundation hosted its Inaugural New York Gala Dinner in Manhattan last night and it raised an amazing $200,000. Guest of Honour was current Republic of Ireland and former Celtic manager, Martin O’Neill.
The venue was a private members’ club in the city and the event was attended by around 250 guests, including businesses, individuals and representatives from the local Celtic Supporters’ Clubs across the Eastern Seaboard.
Our ‘Double Treble’ sponsors for the evening were Avolon and Magners, and the event was delivered in partnership with the Ireland Funds of America.
Funds raised will support three new Celtic FC Foundation initiatives – cross-community projects in Ireland and Scotland and a recognised homeless charity in New York City.
Hosted by Hugo Straney, who many Celtic supporters will know from the NAFCSC’s events such as Las Vegas, the evening kicked off with a stunning performance of You’ll Never Walk Alone by American soprano, Julia Kermott.
This was followed by an introduction video piece on the work of Celtic FC Foundation and a few words from Chief Executive, Tony Hamilton.
Members of the Manhattan No.1 CSC then made a presentation of $5,000 to Celtic FC Foundation before a video message of support from Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.
After dinner, video pieces featured the personal and inspirational stories of Celtic FC Foundation participants Joe Mearns and Sarah Rhind before the Ireland Funds’ Pat Tully hosted the live auction and donations pledge drive.
The live auction contained a total of six outstanding prizes and these were complemented by a host of fantastic items in the silent auction.
Next up was Chair of the Gala Dinner Committee, Irishman Paul Geaney, a New York-based Celtic supporter who is Head of OEM at Avolon. Together with the other members of the Committee, Paul worked tirelessly to deliver a successful event for the Foundation and it wouldn’t have been possible without their efforts.
Paul made a presentation to Martin O’Neill before the Guest of Honour entertained guests with his own brand of storytelling as he shared a series of wonderful memories from his fantastic career.
The formal proceedings were then rounded off by a Liam McGrandles live set which ensured we brought a piece of Celtic Park to New York City.
Paul Geaney said: “The goal tonight was to highlight to a new audience the important work the Foundation does, to raise money for fantastic new projects the Foundation will deliver, and to add a touch of Paradise to New York.
“Thanks to Martin, and the tremendous efforts of the committee and so many others, we achieved all three. It was a special night. We now need to build on this in future years to ensure we can provide a sustainable new source of funds for the Foundation.”
Celtic FC Foundation Chief Executive, Tony Hamilton, added: “Enormous credit must go to the dinner committee who have worked exceptionally hard with us to ensure last night was a memorable one for everyone who attended.
“My thanks also to everyone who supported the event financially through the purchase of tables and tickets and by making donations and supplying auction lots.
“It was a great first year for us in the city and we’re already making plans for a return in 2019.”
We would like to thank Martin O’Neill, Paul Geaney and our committee, Avolon, Magners, the Ireland Funds of America, our local Celtic Supporters’ Clubs, those who donated prizes for the auctions and complimentary drinks and gifts, Julia Kermott, Liam McGrandles, Pat Tully and our host, Hugo Straney.
Please don’t ever underestimate the difference you have made.