Irish International Immigrant Center Gala Raises $720K

November 4, 2019 — 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 recently raised $725,000 at its annual gala that celebrated its thirtieth year, beating its goal by 20%.

The funds raised will support general operations and direct services.

Five hundred people attended the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) gala, on par with the number of attendees last year. Funds were raised through ticket sales, a silent auction, and donation pledges throughout the night.

"This year's Solas Awards exceeded our fundraising goal because of the work of the IIIC has never been more important than during these most challenging times," said IIIC Executive Director Ronnie Millar.

The Solas Awards gala, held Oct. 10 at the Boston Harbor Hotel, sought to raise $600,000. Last year, the event raised $500,000. New this year, the event shifted from a seated gala to a standing event, making it feel more like a cocktail party. Optional seating was available by reservation.

The gala generates about 33% of the funds IIIC raises each year.

Key sponsors included Arbella Insurance Foundation, John Donohue and Frances Robinson, Ansara Family Fund at The Boston Foundation, Geraghty Associates, Cognizant, Law Offices of Gerard F. Doherty, and The Schooner Foundation.

Honored at the gala were Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, and Tony Rodriguez, a Boston Public Schools student.

“Looking back over thirty years of helping more than 40,000 immigrants on their journey to new beginnings, I am deeply grateful for all the staff, volunteers, supporters, partner organizations, and board members who have made all of this possible," said Millar.

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 annually 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.

This past summer, the IIIC filed a lawsuit to restore a government deferred action program that benefits immigrant families and children battling serious medical conditions. The action led the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to resume consideration of requests for deferred action, but to grant such requests “only based on compelling facts and circumstances."

Following that decision, Millar issued a statement, saying, "The elimination of the program has had real and devastating consequences for our clients, most of them children, all of them battling terrifying and painful illnesses. The continuing trauma of uncertainty that these families suffer is particularly cruel and unjust.

"While we remain hopeful that the government has in fact restored medical deferred action, we remain concerned that the decision to end it was made in the first place, and particularly that the decision was made in secret... In light of the government’s claims to have restored deferred action, we have agreed to a temporary stay of our action in order to evaluate the veracity if it's claims."