Galway 2020 has insisted its original objective of raising €7 million in private sponsorship funding ‘hasn’t changed’.
The company set up to deliver Galway’s European Capital of Culture in 2020 told this newspaper it hoped to make a number of positive announcements about private sector funding in the coming weeks.
In March of this year, a financial report by Galway 2020, prepared for Galway County Council, revealed that the company had raised less than €30,000 in private sponsorship income last year.
Despite this low level of sponsorship ‘in the bank’, Galway 2020 reiterated this week that it was still targeting €7 million in private sector funding.
“Galway 2020’s objective to raise private funding of €7m hasn’t changed,” a spokesperson said.
“A largescale fundraising drive is underway. Galway 2020’s fundraising team is engaging with local, national and international businesses very positively and effectively.
“Since the appointment of (creative company) Artichoke and the activation of the fundraising team in mid-January 2019, under the leadership of Development Director, Sarah Coop, almost 100 new business meetings have taken place and hundreds of new prospects identified and engaged with.
“A number of potential partnerships are at an advanced stage of negotiations and we look forward to making announcements in that regard in the coming weeks. This process to negotiate and agree packages with fundraising partners takes time to finalise for each individual business. We are passionate about ensuring that both sides get the same level of satisfaction from the partnership.
“As is normal for projects of this scale, it is envisaged that the fundraising drive will continue throughout 2019, into and during 2020, with funding realised throughout the entire duration of the project,” the spokesperson added.
In January of this year, a briefing document was prepared for Minister for Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, which stated that approximately 50% of the funding for Galway 2020 “is secured”.
The document – prepared at the behest of Minister Madigan before she made an appearance of RTÉ Radio One’s Drivetime programme – said the overall project value was €39.7 million.
The briefing, released to the Tribune following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, said: “From January 2019 we are going full steam ahead with our partnership programme. In order to develop these partnerships we needed to be able to clearly outline to businesses the opportunities that Galway 2020 can offer them. We have completed this work over the past few months.
“We believe strongly that we will achieve our sponsorship targets in support of a world class European Capital of Culture. Galway 2020’s objective to raise private funding of €7 million hasn’t changed”.
At that stage, Galway 2020 had commitments of €23 million from the public purse including €15 million from the Department, €6 million from Galway City Council and €2 million from Galway County Council.
Since then, the County Council has agreed a further €2 million grant.