LEAP – The popular Leadership Executive Acceleration Program for Irish and Irish American women launched in January at Grant Thornton in New York and went virtual in March due to COVID19. The 2020 program will continue online with monthly webinars and virtual networking events until June.

An important component of LEAP is LEAP in the Community where the women practice corporate social responsibility skills and work two NY non-profits to solve a real business challenge. This year the non-profits are The Dwelling Place of NY, a transitional homeless shelter for vulnerable women that has operated for over 40 years and Self Help Africa US, a development organization that helps farmers in sub-Saharan Africa grew family farming businesses.

Due to the COVID19 pandemic both non-profits are switching to a more robust digital fundraising and business development strategy. They’re busy exploring virtual fundraising events formats to replace their annual galas. The LEAP women are supporting both non-profits in this endeavor with innovative ideas and partner suggestions. We’ll have more to report in June.

Nora Beirne, Development Manager at USO of Metropolitan New York

Nora Beirne, a LEAP participant on the Dwelling Place of NY team decided to go even further this past week and do a solo run with much needed supplies and good cheer. Aware of the urgent appeal for products and funds on the Dwelling Place website, Nora rallied her neighbours and friends and collected bags and bags of paper goods, fresh fruit and vegetables, along with cleaning supplies. “People were so supportive of this cause and were extremely generous with products as well as donating funds to the Dwelling Place website, said Nora. “I got in my car, drove down the west side highway and personally delivered the supplies to Sr Joann, the fearless Executive Director of the center this week. The Dwelling Place is such a valuable organization I felt compelled to some hands on work for them.”

Great work Nora. In addition to the important work you are doing with the LEAP team, you showed the true New York spirit of coming together and helping others in need. By the way, Nora’s father and grandparents come from Roscommon and Clare.

LEAP is funded by a grant from the Irish government’s Emigrant Support Program and supported by the Irish Consulate of New York, Grant Thornton and the Bank of Ireland.

Maura Kelly, Director LEAP 2020 @maurakellymedia