The Calcutta Run has raised an astounding €4.75 million since 1999, helping to support homeless initiatives in both Ireland and Calcutta.
The run will return to Blackhall Place on 28 May, making a welcome return after two years of virtual events.
Members of the legal profession, their families and friends, will fundraise together to help alleviate homelessness.
Representatives of the beneficiaries – the Peter McVerry Trust and the Hope Foundation – spoke at yesterday’s launch.
This year’s Calcutta Run will accommodate, walkers, runners (5k and 10k), as well as golfers and tag rugby players.
Apart from Blackhall Place, events will take place virtually in Calcutta, Cork and across the world.
Over 1,500 people took part in 2019, raising an incredible €300,000.
In total, €500,000 was raised virtually in 2020 and 2021, which was a remarkable achievement given the pandemic restrictions.
Law Society Director General Mark Garrett said that he was astonished by the breadth and impact of the Calcutta Run, which was a great credit to the profession and a noble endeavour, and he thanked lawyers for their efforts.
Brian Friel, deputy chief executive of the Brian McVerry Trust, told the attendees that the charity had moved to working with Ukrainian refugees.
“The Peter McVerry Trust is extremely proud and grateful for our ongoing partnership with the Calcutta Run,” he said, adding that its clients had benefited enormously from the generosity of donors.
In the last year, the trust provided accommodation to 2,500 people, with 3,500 supported in addiction services.
“Just last week we took in a young person who arrived here unaccompanied from Ukraine,” he added.
In the last two weeks, the trust has supported 840 individuals who have arrived as refugees from Ukraine, and 220 of those are children.
“Our capacity to respond in that way, to transcend what we're currently doing and to include new pieces of work, wouldn't be possible without your support,” Friel said.
“Our capacity to respond to those needs is also dependent on your ability, your desire, and your motivation to support us to act on your behalf,” he said.
“We are simply there at the front end exercising our capacity on your behalf to make a difference to those groups,” he added.
“I thank you for giving us that capacity to respond,” he said.
Maureen Forrest of the Hope Foundation told the launch that COVID had been devastating for the charity in terms of fundraising, and that, without the Calcutta Run, project work would have been cut in half.
The charity has 60 projects in India.
“Our aim over the years has been to try and get as many of the children as we possibly can into education,” she said.
A total of 1,552 children and adults have been rescued from various crisis situations, she added, with 899 admitted for hospital treatment.
The Hope Foundation also runs a home for HIV-infected and -affected children, where the Calcutta Run funds support 45 children, some of whom have been orphaned.
“We are trying to de-institutionalise children, and get them into either foster care, or work with the parents that they will take them back,” she said.
Law Society finance director Cillian MacDomhnaill explained that in 2021, one law firm raised €25,000, four firms raised €20,000, three firms raised €10,000, and two firms raised €5,000.
Effort and energy
Among those were several small and medium-sized firms, indicating that the distribution of effort and energy was not level across the variously sized firms.
The ability to exceed the goal of €300,000 for 2022 lies in the hands of lawyers, partners, managing partners, CSR representatives and so on, he said.
“If we achieve €300,000, we break through €5 million over 24 years,” he concluded.
“There is no other profession in the city that can say they have made that type of contribution to the neediest in society,” he said.