O'Reilly Foundation

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The O'Reilly Foundation is a personal charitable trust set up in 1998 by media magnate, and former CEO of Heinz, Sir Anthony "Tony" O'Reilly. Its function is the funding of educational projects; the two main work areas are capital developments at Irish colleges and an annual post-graduate scholarship programme for young people normally resident in Ireland, with the aim of "supporting charitable endeavours for the betterment of Ireland and to promote excellence, global vision, community responsibility and leadership."[1]

Governance and staffing[edit]

General authority is vested in a Board of Trustees including, from the beginning, O'Reilly's current wife Chryss Goulandris, Lady O'Reilly as chairperson, plus his six children from his first marriage: Susan Wildman, Cameron O'Reilly, Justine O'Reilly, Gavin O'Reilly, Caroline Dempsey, and Tony O'Reilly, Junior

The oversight of the postgraduate scholarship scheme, is vested in the Scholarship Board, first chaired by the economist T. K. Whitaker, and subsequently by former Registrar of University College Dublin, Professor Emeritus John Kelly.

The Foundation has just one staff member, an executive secretary.

Capital projects[edit]

The Foundation has made a major contribution in May 2000 to complete funding of the 50% privately funded €22.2 million new library building for Dublin City University, later named "The John and Aileen O'Reilly Library" in honour of Dr. O'Reilly's parents.[2]

Scholarship Programme[edit]


The programme, which began in 1999, provides awards of around 25,400 euro annually. In most years, two Scholars are nominated, for two years each, but in some years, there are three Scholars, and in some years, there will be a Scholar with a one-year award. The Foundation sponsors scholars who have an excellent academic record (First Class Honours - in the Irish / British systems - preferred) and who "have demonstrated leadership qualities", as well as the "potential and desire to make a significant contribution to the future of Ireland" .

The scholarships are stated to be chiefly aimed at Ph.D. candidates but have in fact been awarded for a wide range of types of student. Certain disciplines are noted as preferences, namely Business Studies and Marketing, Science and Technology, Arts, Media Studies and Law.[3] [4]

Notable alumni[edit]

Over the first eleven years, or as the programme site calls them, "cycles" of the programme, there were 26 awards made. Amongthem are included:

  • Dr. Anita Sands, 2nd cycle, commencing 2000, Masters in Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Ruth Gilligan, 11th cycle, commencing 2009, BA in English Literature at Cambridge University, to be followed by a Masters in Creative Writing at a US university

Suspension of new awards, 2009[edit]

After 11 cycles, the Trustees decided to invite no applications and make no award in 2009[citation needed], pending a review of the work of the Programme to date by the Board of Trustees, with inputs from the Scholarship Board. A


  1. ^ O'Reilly Foundation website home page
  2. ^ Dublin, Ireland: DCU Educational Trust
  3. ^ Foundation website: About the Programme [1]
  4. ^ Foundation website: Past scholars [2]

External links[edit]