Mission and Board

Next Board Meeting: September 19th, @ 1PM

Current Board Members 2020


Leslie Thompson, President

Paul Ahern, Vice-President, Past President

Harold Bliss Jr., Treasurer

Patricia Prior, Secretary

Jim Daugherty, Chairman of the Board


Frank Leavy

Jim Cunningham

Robert O’Neill

Declan Fox

Bridget Cunningham Costello

Jason O’Riain

Sean Lee

Brid Dower

Pauline Kahabka

Jeff Barnes

Friends of the Board

Justin O’Brien











Our Mission:


The mission of the Irish Cultural Center is to Celebrate and promote Irish and Celtic Heritage and its influence on and partnership with other cultures.  The goal of the McClelland Library is to make accessible a comprehensive collection of materials on Ireland and the Irish diaspora on the role of Irish-Americans in Arizona and the Western United States.  The Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library are divisions of the Irish Cultural & Learning Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are owned and maintained by the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department.

Thank you to Norman P. McClelland for his dedicated service as Board Member and Treasurer.  He will be dearly missed.

Thanks to Sean Lee, Founder and Vice President of the ICLF, for his passion and commitment to the success of the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library.

Leslie Thompson, Irish Cultural & Learning Foundation President

Leslie Thompson was born in Dublin to Pat and Rita Curran also from Dublin. She is the eldest of three sisters and one brother, all of whom reside in Ireland. She studied Electronics and Computer Maintenance at Kevin Street College of Technology. She joined Intel Ireland in 1993 and in 1995 she took an assignment at Intel’s Chandler location. She has had various roles in wafer fabrication, technology transfer, human resources and as a manager. She is currently the Program Manager for People Systems in the Internet of Things group. She met her husband, Hal, at Intel and they have one daughter Sali. Leslie is passionate about helping others and has volunteered in STEM activities with an emphasis on young girls in technology, for Chandler Tullamore Sister Cities and at many of Sali’s Rodeo events.  She is also a member of INAZ (Irish Network Arizona). She sings and plays the guitar and loves a good session! Leslie is very honored to be the ICLF President, particularly in this 20th anniversary year, and her goal is to build on the rich legacy of the founders to launch the plan for the next 20 years!

Note from the President of the Board, Leslie Thompson;

August 17th 2020

To ICLF members, volunteers, affiliates, staff, community and board,

Per the City direction and ICLF board input we will remain closed to the public through the month of August. Please prioritize staying safe and healthy, wear a mask, and practice social/physical distancing. We have refreshed our COVID-19 Re-open plans as the situation has
evolved. Please check our newsletter and website for updates and we will also send an e-blast as needed.

So many great things have happened since my last update. We welcome back two members who are returning to the ICLF Board of Trustees. We have continued our virtual concert series and we are very grateful to the bands who are supporting them. Our Anam Cara committee are working on details for the October event and per your feedback we will at least host an online auction. Stay tuned for more details.
Did you check out the drone footage of the center in the Rose of the ICC competition? It is amazing. Entries have now closed and we are looking forward to the voting and results with Ireland’s own Daithi O Shea. We were delighted to be guest speakers at the San Francisco “You, me and a cup of tea” event. We have hosted affiliate and community zoom meetings and our recent one focused on our ESP with updates on travel to/from Ireland and DFA.

The staff are now alternating WFH/onsite during the closure. Training and task hand-off is complete and our newest staff members have made a huge impact. Our library staff have also made some changes. Onsite projects have included Irish in AZ exhibit boards, office allocations and general housekeeping/organization. We also hope to be able to put our Bricks & Stones process online before we open.

Our $20 membership coupon 2020NewMember is still available online during the closure. We only need 12 more members to meet our goal of 500 – please tell your family and friends. We are continuing to use our Donation Drive during live events and on our web-site – every amount helps us to retain staff and cover utilities.

Our 3 priorities for 2020 are establish an (1) ICLF Endowment (2) Emigration Support Program (3) Retail Space.

I will be using GoTo meeting for our Thursday meetings. I am very grateful for everyone’s continued support.

More details to come so follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.

Contact me at leslie.thompson@azirish.org

Be respectful of the past, realistic about the present and optimistic about the future.