Holyoke native Jamie Cardoza Boyle has begun working as director and chief advancement officer of the Irish Cultural Center of Western New England.
Cardoza Boyle was selected recently as the second person to hold the position of running the day-to-day operations at the facility at 429 Morgan Road, West Springfield. She is managing fundraising efforts as well as helping to run major events such as the Lúnasa Irish Festival and Feis in late August, among other things.
Cardoza Boyle said she has jumped into the work of her new position and loves it, especially because it relates so well to her own Irish heritage.
“I love it here,” she said. “The work is interesting and challenging, and I like that. I’m learning a lot and I’m also learning that I need to dive deeper into my Irish heritage.”
ICC Board of Directors President Sean Cahillane said Cardoza Boyle is fitting perfectly into the organization, and is gaining an understanding of projects underway, especially with regards to fundraising for the final phase of building development.
“We’re very happy with Jamie,” said Cahillane. “She’s got a great background. She’s dedicated to Irish culture. We’re looking forward to a successful adventure with her, to the benefit of the Irish community and the Irish culture of Western New England.”
Cardoza Boyle has solid experience in both fundraising and events planning, key components of her new work.
Most recently, she was annual giving officer at Trinity Health System, formerly known as Sisters of Providence Health System. There, she cultivated and solicited gifts and sponsorships for annual fundraising events, created outreach and engagement programs, identified and cultivated new donors, planned, marketed and promoted events, and created volunteer programs, among other things.
She also worked as event coordinator at Springfield Country Club and other area venues.
At the ICC, her focus will be on planning and fundraising for the final phase of development of the facility, the Performing Arts Center on the top floor of the building. The initial phases have been completed, including the Irish House Restaurant and Trinity Pub, an outdoor patio, and playing fields. The Library and Museum are in the final stages of preparation before opening.
As for the top floor performance hall, Cardoza Boyle said, “That’s our final phase and I’m ready for it. People need to be wowed by this place. Just showing it to people will help them see the magnitude of the project, and the potential that it holds for the region.”
The ICC Performing Arts Center will be used for concerts, educational programs and workshops, and private events.
Cardoza Boyle said she has been most impressed by the level of enthusiasm and commitment by members of the board as well as staff and volunteers at the center.
“I’ve never seen an organization run almost totally on volunteers,” she said.
“People come here every morning because they want to, and because it’s so important to them. There’s so much pride in this center. They won’t let it go and they don’t want it in anyone else’s hands. If people didn’t have the heart for this, or feel as connected, it wouldn’t feel the same. This place runs on heart,” she added.
Cardoza Boyle is married to Brendan Boyle, a detective in the Holyoke Police Department. They live in Holyoke with their three children.
The ICC is celebrating its 20-year anniversary this year. It began in 1999 at the Elms College, and as the college expanded its own programming, moving to the West Springfield location in 2015. Since then, patronship has risen significantly, and the Irish House Restaurant and Trinity Pub has become a hub of activity and entertainment.
The ICC works with support from the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Program, and with the Irish Consulate in Boston. The organization also receives funding and support from the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, Westfield Bank, and the Chicopee Savings Foundation.
The Irish Cultural Center was established in 1999 to foster an appreciation of Irish culture in Western New England. The mission of the Irish Cultural Center is to cultivate a connection with Ireland, through the arts, culture, history, language, and heritage. The Center offers opportunities to engage in educational, travel, and social events that promote Irish culture.