About Us

We champion the power of strategic giving to effect real and lasting change.
We are the independent body supporting philanthropy in Ireland. Representing a diverse and engaged membership, we promote best practice, inform government policy, and raise awareness of strategic giving as an effective driver of social change.

Our vibrant community disburses over €200m a year to 2,000+ projects that improve social mobility, care for the vulnerable, inspire the next generation, and so much more.

While our membership is diverse, we share the same mission: to strengthen the social sector by advancing knowledge, practice and understanding of philanthropy.

Our Vision

Ireland is a global leader in philanthropy characterised by philanthropy being a tangible force for good in society. 

Our Mission

To strengthen the social sector by advancing knowledge, understanding and practice of philanthropy.


Our Values

Leadership – Encouraging dialogue to give collective voice.

Equity – Ensuring impartiality and fairness, recognising all models of philanthropy.

Collaboration – Pro-actively engaging and partnering for the broader benefit of philanthropy.

Learning – Looking to best practice, seeking broader knowledge and understanding.

Our Staff

Éilis Murray

[email protected]

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As CEO for Philanthropy Ireland, Éilis is an advocate for the growth and development of philanthropy, she leads a small team supporting and providing voice for donors, individual, institutional and corporate. With almost 30 years’ experience working in the not-for-profit sector with a range of NGO’s, Éilis is passionate about the role and value of philanthropy in civil society.  Prior to joining Philanthropy Ireland, Éilis worked as an Organisational Development Consultant, focusing on strategic planning and project development. In previous roles as Enterprise Development Manager with the local authority, she had responsibility for supporting and mentoring a portfolio of social enterprise start-ups and investments. Éilis has an MA in Philanthropic Studies from the University of Kent and a B. Comm from UCD. Committed to knowledge exchange and collaboration, she participates in DAFNE, the Donor and Foundations Network of Europe and is on the board of Oakfield Trust.

Connect with Éilis on Linkedin here.


James Sweeney

Impact Research Lead

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As Impact Research Lead for Philanthropy Ireland, James is tasked with providing research on a diverse range of philanthropic topics to support our community and wider stakeholders in advancing knowledge and understanding of philanthropy in Ireland.  

With almost 10 years’ experience working across varying sectors in both the private and public sectors, James has amassed a diverse range of skills.

Prior to joining Philanthropy Ireland, James worked for Kerry Education and Training Board as a training and standards officer delivering training and fostering best practice methodologies.

James has an MSC In Business from the Munster Technology University and a B.A. from UCC.

James is committed to providing substantive research that puts the beneficiaries of philanthropy first. 

Hazel Hennessy

Head of Communications and Relationships
[email protected]

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Hazel joined the Philanthropy Ireland team in July 2023 as Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Lead. Hazel is responsible for engaging with PI’s membership and profiling Philanthropy Ireland across all of our channels and events.

Hazel has over ten years’ experience in the philanthropic sector. She has held previous roles with Community Foundation Ireland including Marketing Executive for six years.

She has an undergraduate degree in Contemporary Culture and Society from DCU, a postgraduate diploma from University of Ulster in Applied Social Research, postgraduate diploma from Digital Marketing Academy of Ireland in Digital Marketing and a special purpose award from National College of Ireland in Non-Profit Leadership and Management.

Hazel is a board member with Youth Work Ireland Meath and has held roles on the American Youth Council, Euphoria, DCU Ryan Academy and the Irish Network of Young Social Entrepreneurs.

Connect with Hazel on LinkedIn here.

While 90% of people in Ireland give to charity, it is estimated only 12% do so in a planned way.
Philanthropy Ireland aims to change this and to encourage people to give more and give more strategically.


Philanthropy Ireland is dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of good governance. We are committed to ensuring transparencywithin our organisation. We prepare trustee annual report and annual financial statement in compliance with the charities SORP.

Philanthropy Ireland adheres to the Governance Code of the Charity Regulatory Authority.

Lorna Jennings Chairperson

Joined the Board in November 2019

Lorna has worked in PR and public affairs for circa 15 years, working in Government, in house for Ireland’s largest health charity and in agency during that period. Lorna joined Hanover Communications in December 2016 to set up the firm’s office in Ireland, after a number of years working in senior roles in European and domestic consulting firms. Currently on the boards of directors of the Asthma Society of Ireland, Public Relations Consultants Association (Ireland) and Philanthropy Ireland. She began her career working in Leinster House, before moving to the Irish Cancer Society to develop and manage the Society’s public affairs strategy. Current and previous client experience includes PR, public affairs, event management, crisis communications and media training for clients ranging from state bodies to educational institutes, major multinationals and community groups. Lorna has a B.A. and an M.A. from Trinity College Dublin in History and Political Science and holds a masters in Public Affairs and Political Communications from the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Alma Curran

Joined the Board in June 2016

Alma is Corporate Affairs Manager for Ireland with Medtronic. She is responsible for Government Affairs, Communications and Philanthropy for the company in Ireland. She joined Covidien in 2010 following its Irish incorporation and managed outreach with the European Union and governments across the EMEA region. Prior to working with Covidien, Alma was employed by the Irish Government working in a variety of positions in research, communications and campaigns. Alma is from the west of Ireland and has a BA in Law and Politics from NUI Galway and an MA in Public Affairs and Political Communication from DIT.

Darren Ryan

Joined the Board in March 2021

Darren is the VP and Director Ireland of The Ireland Funds, a global philanthropic network of friends of Ireland. With chapters in 12 countries, The Ireland Funds has raised over $600 million for deserving causes in Ireland and beyond, benefiting more than 3,200 different organisations.

Darren previously served as the CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI), a non-profit organisation that supports people to solve social problems. During his 11 years with SEI, Darren worked with hundreds of social entrepreneurs and built a deep understanding of the social challenges facing Ireland as well as a unique insight into some of the solutions and how to bring about change. 

Darren has played a leading role in building the sector for social enterprises in Ireland. He is a Founding Director of SERI, a representative body for social enterprises in Ireland and is a Council Member of Dublin Chamber of Commerce. Darren previously served as Chair of The Soar Foundation and was the Dublin Ambassador to the Sandbox Network, a global network of entrepreneurs.


Bernard Kirk

Joined the Board in September 2014

Bernard is a former primary school teacher and is currently director of Galway Education Centre, the Department of Education & Skills funded provider of CPD for teachers. Bernard co founded Africa Code Week, which is the largest digital literacy initiative in Africa, involving 35 countries and over 800,000 young people and teachers in 2017. Bernard is also co founder and a member of the Global Steering Group of Refugee Code Week. In Ireland, Bernard organises the FIRST LEGO League, Junior LEGO League and EA Games Sumo Robotics competitions. He is also co founder of EXCITED the Digital Learning Movement. He has engaged closely with companies such as Medtronic, SAP, EA Games, Accenture, HP, SOS Ventures and Kuka Robotics in creating educationalinitiatives. Bernard is a member of the Science Gallery Education Committee, a Science Gallery Emeritus Leonardo and Ashoka Change Nation – Change Leader. He is also an advisory board member of Changemaker Schools and The Digital Youth Council.

In 2013 he was awarded an Honorary Masters in Science by National University of Ireland, Galway. The citation concluded: “NUI Galway now wishes to formally recognize and honour Bernard Kirk for his outstanding contribution to the education of our young people throughout his career by the award of a Master of Science.”

Joe Quinsey

Joined the Board in January 2021

Joe Quinsey, currently CEO of DCU Educational Trust, has over 30 years’ senior-level experience covering both industry and the non-profit sector. Previous non-profit roles include CEO of The Children’s Medical & Research Foundation and Director of Change for the Rehab Group, whilst his industry experience includes senior finance, commercial and general management roles in blue chip multi-nationals, Diageo and CRH. A chartered management accountant by profession, Joe also holds an MBA from Dublin City University

Liz McConnell

Joined the Board in March 2021

Liz is Head of Development with Kylemore Abbey. Liz is a native of Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. She has over 25 years’ experience in the field of university advancement, philanthropy and public affairs.   

From 2003 to 2019 she worked in the Office of the University President at NUI Galway, serving as Director of Public Affairs, during a period of exponential growth and development.  In 2019 she took a career break from NUI Galway to work with The Kylemore Trust on philanthropic development at Kylemore Abbey.

Prior to 2003 she held the roles of Assistant Director of Development at Trinity Foundation (TCD, 1996-1998) and Deputy Director of Galway University Foundation (NUI Galway, 1998-2003) working in the area of fundraising and alumni relations.  

Educated at NUI Galway and UCD, she graduated with a BA (English and Philosophy) and completed an MA degree by thesis on the works of Irish writer, George Moore, before training as a librarian at Trinity College Library Dublin and UCD.

She serves on a number of non-profit boards including Music for Galway, Philanthropy Ireland, The Galway Steinway Trust and the Board of Management of Salerno Jesus & Mary Secondary School, and was a member of the board of Druid Theatre Company from 2015 – 2020.


Brid Cannon

Bríd is an Associate Director in Risk Consulting. She commenced her career working in private equity and investment management and has since built over 10 years’ experience in professional services.

Bríd advises clients on matters relating to governance, conduct, regulation and compliance. Previous engagements include working as Authorised Officer for the Central Bank of Ireland on conduct related issues; advising an international insurance group on the authorisation process and also an international banking group on compliance relating to its private banking business. She has significant experience in Individual Accountability, Fitness and Probity having advised both Irish and UK institutions on their obligations in these areas.