Educate Together Awarded $25,000 Ireland Funds Grant as Saoirse Ronan Champions Educate Together’s Cause

Educate Together is today delighted to announce that it has been awarded a $25,000 grant by The Ireland Funds, a global philanthropic network established to promote and support peace, culture, education and community development throughout the island of Ireland.

Educate Together was proudly featured as The Ireland Funds grantee partner at their Annual New York Gala event on Thursday 2nd May. The organisation also committed to introducing the mission of Educate Together to its philanthropic network.

Lenny Abrahamson, Oscar-nominated film director, parent and Educate Together Ambassador, spoke at the ceremony. Lenny said:

‘I’m lucky that my two children are at school in an Educate Together primary school. I got involved with the charity because I’ve been able to see first-hand how happy they and their classmates are, how stimulated, how excited by learning, how aware of themselves as members of their school and local communities and as citizens of their country and of the world.

I’m profoundly grateful to The Ireland Funds for backing Educate Together in empowering future generations of young people growing up in Ireland. I’m thankful, that through Educate Together, my children can enjoy such a wonderful school environment and I look forward to the time when every child in Ireland has the same opportunity.’

These sentiments were reinforced by Irish and American Oscar-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan, who received The Ireland Funds 2019 Performing Arts Award and advocated for the support of Educate Together. Saoirse said:

‘A sense of community flows through the veins to the beating heart of Educate Together . Individuality is celebrated by fellow students and teachers alike. Educate Together recognises that every child is different and every child has something within that is special  and unique to them, something that is only waiting to be discovered, nurtured and put into practice. They do not shy away from that truth. They welcome it instead.

The only reason I’m standing here tonight is because I was surrounded by grown-ups who valued creativity and imagination and good character as much if not more than they did academic achievements. There are no uniforms in Educate Together schools. Teachers are referred to by their first names. Active participation on how the school is run by  both children and parents is encouraged. Children are not only taught maths, Irish, science, history, etc, but they are also taught about social justice, equality and gender, topics that have been way overlooked for far too long.

The best bit is all children are given equal access to school and no one worldview or religion is given priority in their schools which is incredible. No student will ever be asked their religion as part of the enrolment process. No child will ever be separated from their peers because of their or their family’s beliefs. Basically no woman or man is left behind. These children are growing up in a safe and nurturing environment that will undoubtedly make them fair, well-informed and well-rounded adults. This is not only how a school should be run but how a society should be run. I think we could all learn a thing or two from the moral and ethical message that Educate Together is so beautifully sending out to its students every single day.

Educate Together’s inclusion and ability to create a true sense of community among students and teachers are what makes these schools unprecedented and really quite revolutionary and essential for our Ireland – the one that exists today, the one where every human being has the right to marry whoever they choose, where every Irish woman finally has agency over her own body and where the younger generations have the courage to use their voice and will not stop until it is heard.

Irish children deserve the opportunity to learn everything there is to know about our world and the people living in it and Educate Together are giving them that chance.’

 Kyle Clifford, Vice President, The Ireland Funds, said:

‘We very much enjoyed the opportunity to showcase Educate Together at the largest of our annual events. Our New York Gala is the perfect platform to share the great success story of Educate Together to our philanthropic network and to increasing awareness of their 120 Campaign among our donor network. We look forward to working in partnership with Educate Together and seeking support for this very important campaign.

This grant gift to Educate Together and the future partnership is testament to the power of philanthropy, which will bring unprecedented change and the opportunity of equality-based education in Ireland for generations to come.’

John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of The Ireland Funds America; Lenny Abrahamson, film director and Educate Together Ambassador; Saoirse Ronan, Oscar-nominated actress and Educate Together supporter; Kyle Clifford, Vice-President, The Ireland Funds and Caitriona Fottrell,Vice President and Director, Ireland of The Ireland Funds. Photograph by Michael Nagle