Irish Heart Foundation statement re bequest from Mrs Elizabeth O’Kelly

By Communications team Policy News   |   31st Oct 2018

The Irish Heart Foundation was one of five charities which received a legacy donation of €6 million from the late Elizabeth O’Kelly in 2017.

Tim Collins, CEO of the Irish Heart Foundation, said “The bequest received last year from Elizabeth O’Kelly was the single biggest donation ever received by the Irish Heart Foundation in our 52 years of existence. The board and staff of the organisation have been overcome by her generosity and are committed to ensuring it is put to best effect and has a long-lasting impact on reducing premature death from heart disease and stroke in Ireland.

Mrs O’Kelly was a remarkable woman who with her will has gifted five Irish charities a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in and transform Irish society. We are extremely grateful to her for her kindness and generosity in choosing to remember the Irish Heart Foundation and our crucial work to protect and improve the cardiovascular health of the nation.”

In order to ensure Mrs O’Kelly’s generous donation is put to best effect and has a long-lasting impact, the Irish Heart Foundation has ringfenced the donation and spent the past number of months working with the Board and external partners on a large-scale innovative project in the area of childhood obesity.

Almost a third of Irish children are now overweight and in 2016 nine percent of girls and ten percent of boys in Ireland were classed as obese. 85,000 children currently living on the island of Ireland will die prematurely due to being overweight. Childhood obesity is the single biggest threat facing public health in Ireland. If it is not tackled the significant progress that has been made in reducing deaths from heart disease and stroke will soon be undone.

The Irish Heart Foundation is committed to working and campaigning to reduce childhood obesity in Ireland. This is a key strategic priority for the Irish Heart Foundation and Mrs. O’Kelly’s generous donation has made this work possible. Further details of the new project will be published early next year in our strategy for 2019-2024.

In 2017 the Irish Heart Foundation generated 90% of our income from donations, sponsorship and fundraising activities. Bequeaths and legacy donations are an extremely important source of income for charities, allowing us to both fund our ongoing work, and in this instance, be innovative in our work and develop key interventions focused on impact.

Legacy donations constitute a significant proportion of the Irish Heart Foundation’s income. They are an important income stream for us and are crucial to our continued operation. Without people like Elizabeth O’Kelly, we simply wouldn’t be here today.




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