Trustee of the Year Award

This award aims to shine a light on voluntary trustees who have made an extraordinary contribution to an organisation.

Meet our 2019 winner below…

Sr. Magdalen Fogarty

Charity Reg no. : 20041076

1. Outline the Vision and Mission of the Nominee’s Organisation

Clann Credo was set up to make finance work for people and for local communities. It was established in 1996 by Sr. Magdalen Fogarty to make loan finance available for local, grassroots development. That process of development is driven almost entirely by the communities themselves. Our role is to provide the critical financial support and help deliver a positive social impact. Our support has enhanced key local services and enriched community life, across the country. To date we have loaned more than €120 million and supported over 1,000 projects located in both urban and rural areas. Our support has helped create jobs, build community centres, sports halls and homes and provide better services for the disabled, young children and the aged.

2. Describe the Nominee’s Involvement with your Organisation

In establishing Clann Credo, Sr Magdalen created the first social finance provider in Ireland. Her first task was to convince the religious community to donate the resources required to set up a fund that had the capacity to make a major social impact and was also capable of sustaining itself, over the longer-term. Over 20 years on, Clann Credo is the largest social finance provider in Ireland, making more than €16,000,000 available in 2018 to help deliver positive social change at local level across the country. Clann Credo is not is receipt of government funding and income from our loans is used to cover our costs. That this was achieved in such a short time span speaks volumes of the commitment, drive and vision that lay behind the foundation of Clann Credo.

3. What Special Qualities and Skills Does the Nominee Bring to their Role as Trustee?

Sr. Magdalen is possessed of a unique and keen understanding of the transformative role that finance can play in driving social change. Her key innovation was to devise the means and structure whereby those critical resources and supports could be directed where they were most needed. That took courage, perseverance and a remarkable sense of humility. As she acknowledged herself, there was no ‘Eureka!’ moment: “I knew what I wanted to achieve, but I didn’t have the terminology or the structure. This idea that was going around in my head, I absorbed it slowly and it evolved and gradually took shape over time.” Her example inspires all associated with Clann Credo to continually challenge themselves on how we can best deliver positive change across all levels of society.

4. Everyone Loves a Good Story. Tell us about an incident that sums up your Nominee

When Sr. Magdalen entered the Presentation Sisters it was a closed order. Little did she suspect that she would rise to become the order’s Bursar General and would travel extensively in its service. But she used that opportunity and experience to good effect, learning from examples and initiatives the world over on how finance could be utilised to advance justice and social equality. Her vision and conviction helped persuade the Presentation Order to change how they invested their finances and so Clann Credo was born. But for all her focus on the bigger picture, Sr Magdalen is equally attentive to the smaller details and she is always first to send a thoughtful card to a member of staff who may be going through a tough time, or someone who might have reason to celebrate. Birthdays are never forgotten and she will always have a kind word for those around her. There is no one anecdote that would do her justice, rather it is the rich tapestry of skills and talents that she exhibits daily, her openness to fresh thinking and innovation. And above all it is her unrivalled commitment to the delivery of positive change, from the ground up.

5. What makes your organisation special?

Clann Credo has successfully pioneered the concept and practice of social finance in Ireland. For the last two decades our commitment has been to help communities build brighter futures. In many instances these communities have been unable to access to conventional finance. Daily, we challenge ourselves with a question at the heart of Sr. Magdalen’s original quest to create a new model of finance: “How do you help communities build resilience?” Clann Credo has a unique insight into the wide variety of community organisation structures, management and financing. This helps drive innovation in our work. For example, we have developed a particular expertise in delivering and supporting sustainable energy projects. This in turn help to create more sustainable and resilient communities.