I recently attended a wonderful collaboration between the Irish Consul General and the San Francisco Historical Society, honoring DeValera in San Francisco: 100 years of Ireland and California (1919 – 2019). It was a panel that spoke about the significance of Éamon DeValera’s visit to San Francisco in 1919 and the evolution of relations between Ireland and California in the 20th century to the relationship and politics today. The panel consisted of Myles Dungan (Broadcaster, historian and author of How the Irish Won the West), Éamon Ó Cuív TD, Member of the Dáil (Ireland’s Parliament) and grandson of Éamon DeValera, Christopher O’Sullivan, Adjunct Professor USF, Robert O’Driscoll, Consul General of Ireland to the Western US and Elizabeth Creely, San Francisco historian. It was grand evening!
Eamon DeValera was a brilliant man and he raised 5 million dollars while traveling around the United States. 5 million dollars in 1919- they say that today it’s purchasing power is 75 million dollars. I am inspired by Eamon and his determination and his cause. He believed in something and went out and spoke to people about it and they believed in him.
The Irish Cultural Center has been our cause. Could we raise 5 million in 2019 like Eamon did in 1919 for the cause? For several years now, the operations of the Center was not fiscally supporting and we as the board reacted and shut down the businesses that were no longer sustainable to the future of the Center. While the business struggled, the aging building by the water has taken a beating. Think about your own home- it must be looked after or the issues pile up. Well, the issues have piled up. The roof needs replacing, the plumbing and the bathrooms need mending, electrical needs upgrading, the first floor needs better accessibility, the library needs expanding, the bar area completely needs to be revamped on both levels, the stage needs reinforcement, some doors need replacing, the elevator and kitchen have their issues and that’s what we are aware as of right now. Other comments and concerns that have been shared with me: we have no windows, our stairwells take up about 600 square feet of the front of the building, we need other Irish partners, clubs and/or organizations to lease space, etc etc.
I love the Center, I mean really love the Center and I want it to thrive and we- board members- have all committed many years to make sure that the doors are open and the lights are on but it takes more than 14 board members to do this today. I need each and every one of you to renew your dues, to make a donation, to volunteer and attend an event. You might feel that you have done your time but the cause is greater now than it has been in many many years. The doors cannot stay open if you don’t get 2-3 others to renew, donate, volunteer or attend an event. We have become a nonprofit so that we can reach out to our community but the heart of the Center is with the members. It is with YOU and YOUR Center that continues to need you!
Next year, we celebrate “45 years on 45th”- let’s get there. Let’s commit to the cause of the Center. We have a vision, a “2020 vision” and the word plan is a noun but we need to use it as a verb and take ACTION. Join us!
Channel your Eamon DeVelera determination and support YOUR Center. In October, we will have four Satrudays, where I will be at the Center from 9-10 am to evaluate and review our draft copy of the strategic plan. October 5th, October 12th, October 19th and October 26th. Please join me at 9am, one of these mornings. I hope to see you there! In addition, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions, comments or concerns.