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Verwoerd's tenure led to rise in funds

WITH a parade of celebrity ambassadors backing its causes, and funding of over ¿18m coming from the Irish people last year, UNICEF has established itself as a major player in the charity sector here.

The Irish operation of the massive global organisation is one of 36 "national committees" around the world.

They raise money for the body's emergency and development work and then contribute the money back to its multi-billion euro budget.

The overall organisation was founded in 1946 following a vote at the first session of the United Nations general assembly with an aim of providing relief to children in Europe following the end of WWII.

It quickly grew beyond the original remit and within seven years it was active in 100 countries worldwide.

As the organisation grew, an Irish office -- or national committee -- was founded in 1962 and has been active since in raising money and lobbying Government for the rights of children.

The network of national committees collectively raise around one third of the worldwide organisation's annual income.

The Irish operation has since grown to an office of 15 people based in Dublin city centre with eight directors and an extensive address book of celebrity ambassadors which feature in promotional activities for the charity.

According to its annual report for 2010, just under ¿7m was raised after expenses and sent back to the New York head office of the global organisation.


It is this figure that Melanie Verwoerd was referring to when she released a statement saying that her dismissal came "despite a doubling of the income for UNICEF Ireland in 2010, which was the best financial year since its inception".

Fundraising from the Irish public the previous year -- after expenses -- was worth approximately ¿3m, and ¿3.5m in 2008.

In addition to this, the Irish Government made a contribution in 2010 of ¿11,446,000 directly to the parent organisation through its overseas aid arm, Irish Aid.

This brings the total amount of funds provided from Ireland last year to ¿18,361,810.

This is a sharp jump on 2009 when ¿13,713,217 was given through fundraising efforts and the Government contribution.

However, it is a drop from 2008 when ¿29,540,000 was raised here, including over ¿26m through Government contribution.

Income to UNICEF Ireland comes chiefly from sponsorship money, donations and greeting card sales, according to the annual report, with donations making up the vast majority of this figure.