Investing in the next generation of Irish American Leaders

Leo T Walsh Program 2022 — Our educational scholarship program continues to be one of our most popular community engagements and attracts a robust number of applicants annually. Established in 1994, the Leo T Walsh Scholarship Fund, has funded over 600 scholarships since its inception. This years awards ceremony was in person having been held virtually the last two years. The program has grown from two scholarships being offered in the early years to a grand total of 52 individual awards this year. Thirty one graduating High School Seniors and twenty one Eight Grade students received support this year ranging from $750 to $1,000. A grand total of $46,750 was donated by community supporters and donors to fund the awards. There would be no scholarship program without the gracious generosity of the UICC community. We thank all those who play a part in the program annually.

A special word of thanks to Peggy Nevin and Carmelle Reiser for all their efforts behind the scenes. The scholarship committee sources judges for the student essays, and evaluates the online portion of the program, and notifies the successful finalists and organizes the ceremony.

The UICC will continue to promote and support the scholarship program as it is an investment in our young people who will someday be future leaders in the Irish American community and may possibly be future stewards of the Center or board members down the road. Opportunities are available for named scholarships for the 2023 program, contact Peggy Nevin at:

Audit of 2021 Financials — The finance team has been busy over the last month responding to questions from the Moore Business Management Group, Inc., the firm we retained to undertake the audit of the 2021 financials. Fully audited accounts are required from most Foundations, and government agencies when applying for capital grant support. Results of the audit are expected by mid-June.

NICCoNA Meeting — The National Irish Cultural Centers of North America (NICCoNA) held its fifth annual meeting at the Kansas City Irish Center, Missouri on May 19th. The last time the group met in person was back in 2019 in New York City, the last two years have been virtual affairs. I attended this year’s meeting on behalf of the Center. It was both informative and educational to sit around the table and discuss the challenges faced by other Irish Centers nationwide over the last few years and also to see how Centers are reopening and restarting after the pandemic. Most cultural programming is back in full swing across the US now with music, language, arts, exhibitions, drama taking and annual Irish festivals center stage.

Folk Alliance Convention — The International Folk Alliance Convention took place at the Crown Center in downtown Kansas City while I was in town for the NICCoNA Meeting. I attended this showcase event for Folk and indigenous music of all genres all over the USA, and internationally. The event which attracts over 400 programmers, agents, Festival Directors and radio stations has a long track record of creating opportunities for Irish artists.
Culture Ireland, which promotes Irish arts worldwide was present and led a team of delegates from Ireland, and also brought a number of up and coming artists and groups to Kansas City. Artists like Claire Sands (Co. Galway), Polly Barrett (west Cork), Ultan Conlon (Galway), Lore (musical group from Derry) and Dani Larkin (Armagh-Monaghan). Dublin based Aoife Scott, who has strong San Francisco connections to the Black family was also showcased and we hope to host her soon here in San Francisco. Aoife was due to play a concert at the Irish Center back in April 2020, but was canceled due to the pandemic. Some 1200 attendees attended this year’s event.

Irish Camp 2022 — We are excited to host the Second Annual Summer camp at the Center this year, starting on Monday June 13th and running through Friday July 1st. We have a great lineup of Camp Leaders: Michael Dillon, Mary Radonovich, Eamonn Flynn, Jennifer Corry, Katy Porter, James Mallison, A.J. Rogers, and Tim Moriarty. There is a wonderful program developed and much for the kids to do over the three weeks culminating in a variety concert on July 1st

Bloomsbay 2022 —The Bay Area celebrates the 100th anniversary of James Joyce’s seminal work, Ulysses, with exhibits, community celebrations & readings, a film screening, a musical performance, the U22 centenary podcast and the world premiere of an animated tribute featuring award-winning Irish actor Maria Doyle Kennedy. Check out the events page on the Centers website. Dowling Librarian Jennifer Drennan hosts a Virtual Book discussion on June 16th at 4pm. There will also be an in person James Joyce Celebration and Open-Mic and Period Fun on Saturday June 18th between 2-4pm.

Gregory Harrington Live — We have a special treat for the community on June 10th, 2022, as we host Gregory Harrington for an intimate evening of music in the St. Francis room. The evening will journey from the culture of Ireland’s rich traditional music and ballads to the incredibly love songs from opera, jazz standards, film scores and rock songs ranging from “Shenandoah” and “The Parting Glass” to Puccini’s “O mio babbino Caro”, Bocelli’s “Time to Say Goodbye”, U2’s “All I want is You” and many in between. Don’t miss this!

Irish Veterans Exhibition — Through Saturday, June 10 in the St. Francis Room there is a special exhibition on the history of the Irish and Irish American Medal of Honor recipients. Well worth a trip to the Center!

Comedy Night June 18th — Comedy returns to the Center featuring several local comedians on Saturday June 18th from 8.00-10.00pm

Amateur Boxing June 25th — We welcome back amateur boxing partners Fire in the Ring for a fun filled evening of boxing in the St. Patrick’s room. This is expected to sell out!

Graduation Season — Congratulations to all the 8th grade, high school seniors and college seniors who graduated this semester. Best of luck in your new schools, and for some it will be the hunt fora job! Go n-eirí an bóthar left! May the road be successful for you!

If you are traveling this summer, Be Safe!
Liam Reidy