Dear UICC Members,

“Little By Little The Castles Are Built”

The old Irish Proverb “i ndiaidh a chéile a déantar na caisleáin” (little by little the castles are built) is several centuries old and traces its origin to the late 12th century following the Norman invasion of Ireland. The Normans were great castle builders and became as Irish as the Irish themselves such was their assimilation into the local population.

The saying is as true now in the vernacular as it was then—it takes time to build something really strong and long lasting. When I think of the major fiscal transition underway at the Irish Center—going from a members only social club to a fully nonprofit entity—I realize that it’s a slow but steady movement forward as we ponder and decide on what goes into the foundations of the Irish Center now, so that it will become a self-sustaining entity for decades to come.

The central principles of a successful enterprise at the corner of 45th Avenue and Wawona are the sustaining members of the UICC and the Irish Community. They are essentially the “keystone” on which all else depends. Without the support of the members and the Irish Community there would be no Irish Center. I personally want to thank the 45 years of board members, volunteers and contributors that laid the groundwork for the Center.

Through the last 45 years, there have been multiple efforts to raise large parcels of money independent of the ordinary day to day operations. The elevator installation back in the late 1980s was the most expensive upgrade the Center has incurred since it opened back in 1975. The downstairs bar was remodeled in the 1980s but that was a cosmetic change within the envelope of the building.

In the not too distant future, our roof needs to be replaced and additional upgrades need to be completed. In addition, we would like to add a solar power generating system on the rooftop, potentially shaving $1,000 off our current monthly utility cost. These major capital improvements are above and beyond our ability right now to fund such upgrades.

And so as a board, we launched the St Patrick’s Appeal—the first Board driven fundraiser in three decades—on May 18, with the goal to raise $90,000 by September 17, ‘Halfway to St Patrick’s Day.’ Past revenue generating operations like the 32/50 club fundraiser and large banquets are no longer options currently available to the Center to pay for the ordinary expenses incurred in operating a 20,000 square foot facility.

The response from our membership and community has been heart warming and overwhelmingly positive. I am very pleased to report that the campaign at the time of writing has surpassed 66% of our goal with $59,085 pledged by 260 individual contributors. Many thanks to all those who have given to date. If you have not contributed yet, please consider doing so. While much of the fundraising is being driven online—you can participate by filling out the donation page in this month’s newsletter and mail in a check.

We look forward to seeing you at the Irish Center soon. Until then continue to wear your mask, maintain your 6 feet social distance and stay safe!

Anne Cassidy-Carew, President