|7 Feb 2020|
The official launch of the Alberto Hurtado Endowment Fund (AHEF) took place in the Merrion Hotel, Dublin, on Tuesday the 28th of January 2020. The evening was to mark the launch of the fund, following two years of preparation, and to celebrate the Alberto Hurtado Bursary Programme (AHP) which has become such an integral and rich part of Clongowes life in its relatively short existence. The fund is another landmark in the brief history of our Bursary Programme and the evening gave recognition to all those who have worked so hard to bring us to this point.
The Alberto Hurtado Bursary Programme at Clongowes was introduced in 2007. The AHP is a bursary scheme inspired by the desire to remove barriers to the unique educational experience that a seven-day boarding school can offer. The objective of the AHP is to offer opportunity to boys who might otherwise not fulfill their potential because of socio-economic disadvantage. Students are chosen on the basis of eligibility and suitability, family ambition and their potential to thrive in a boarding environment.
After a short time to mingle, the assembled guests took their seats and were introduced to the evening’s speakers by the school’s Headmaster Mr. Chris Lumb. The keynote address was given by Fr. Leonard Moloney SJ, Provincial of the Irish Jesuit Province and former Headmaster of Clongowes. As Headmaster at the time of the launch of the AHP and as a key force behind its creation, Fr. Moloney, showing a certain nostalgia for his days in Clongowes and gave his heartfelt thanks to all those who brought the AHP to life – recognizing the central role played by our Deputy Headmaster, Mr. Martin Wallace. Fr. Moloney, conveyed the Province’s support of the Alberto Hurtado Endowment Fund by pledging a €2 million donation which matched the initial seed capital.
As inspirational as he was, Fr. Moloney SJ, would gladly accept that he was eclipsed by the discussion panel that followed which was expertly moderated by Mr. Martin Wallace. Two Old Clongownians, who graduated from the Bursary Programme: Seán McMahon OC’16 and Eoghan McLoughlin OC’15 were joined by two current Rhetoric students: Julian Jimenez Ospina and Michael Quinn Keogh. Each different in their own way, they engaged in a discussion about their Clongowes’ experiences and their hopes and aspirations in a natural, sincere and confident manner. The audience was captivated? by the discussion. It was impossible, as a past pupil of Clongowes, not to be immensely proud of these young men and of those that have helped them, at home and at school, to become men of such confidence, conscience, and compassion.
It is a large and important step for the Alberto Hurtado Programme and for the Endowment Fund, to have Séan, Eoghan, Julian, and Michael stand up and talk on behalf of the Programme. The evening’s speeches were rounded off by a talk on the Endowment Fund by Mr. Joe Rooney, from the Clongowes Wood College Foundation. He recognised the generosity of one fellow past pupil whose seven-figure donation allowed the Foundation to move ahead and start planning for the AHEF. Donations from other past pupils allowed the fund to launch with €2 million, which as mentioned above, was matched on the evening. It was noted that no withdrawals will take place through the first five years thereby allowing the fund to mature and grow through its infancy.
The Foundation does have legacies and some pledges, and it is also in discussion with potential donors, some of whom have indicated expressions of interest. While that is a great start, Joe emphasised that the fund’s target, in today’s money, is €20 million and a lot of hard work lies ahead. A brief history of the fund’s evolution from its investment policy, through to the fund mandate and to the selection of Goldman Sachs as the external manager, overseen by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, allowed the Chair to thank all those who had helped it along its journey to this launch.