January 24, 2019
 
Irish International Immigrant Center Gala Raises $500K

December 16, 2018 — The Irish International Immigrant Center, a Boston nonprofit that assists newcomers to successfully transition to new lives in Greater Boston and the United States, announced that it raised $500,000 at its recently held annual gala, meeting its fundraising goal.

Five hundred people attended the Solas Awards Gala on Dec. 6 at Boston’s Seaport Hotel, surpassing the 450 expected.

The funds raised will support the center’s critical legal, education, and wellness services provided by the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC).

Last year's gala raised $1 million, which included funds that the organization normally raises via annual its Business Leaders Breakfast. This year, both events raised approximately as much as Solas 2017.

The gala accounts for approximately 23% of the IIIC’s total annual fundraising goal.

Funds were raised primarily through table and event sponsorship, supplemented by ticket sales, and, according to the IIIC, raised more at the event itself, through its silent and live auction and live ask, than it in any previous year.

Key sponsors for this year’s gala included Ansara Family Fund at the Boston Foundation, Arbella Insurance Foundation, Geraghty Associates, and John Donohue and Frances Robinson, Cognizant, the Northern Ireland Bureau, and The Schooner Foundation.

IIIC Executive Director Ronnie Millar said, “At a time when our government is targeting the most vulnerable immigrant members of our community, the IIIC is on the frontlines providing critical services to reunite and to keep families together. We deeply appreciate the partnership of all who supported our Solas Awards Gala. If we all stand, and work together, we can fulfill the promise of America.”

The event bestowed its Leadership Award on Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and founder of RFK Compass, which works on sustainable investment to address human rights violations with institutional investors.

Honored with IIIC's Service Award was Norman Houston, director of the Northern Ireland Bureau.

Shevonne De Pina, a Trinidadian immigrant and client of the IIIC, who now works for Hertz, received IIIC's Solas Courage Award.

According to the IIIC, Shevonne grew up in Trinidad, came to the United States in her late teen, and married an American. After her husband left Shevonne and her young, an IIIC immigration lawyer, Jacqueline Kelley, helped her become a legal permanent U.S. resident.

Founded in 1989 by immigrants, the IIIC, rooted in the Irish tradition of social justice and hospitality, is a multi-service center that provides legal, wellness, and education services; advocates for systemic change; and facilitates cross-cultural community building.

Today the IIIC supports 3,500 immigrants and refugees from more than 120 countries by providing the legal, wellness and educational support they need to build successful lives. Building on Irish roots of welcoming others and social justice, the center helps newcomers find community.

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