Mission and Board

Next Board Meeting: August 15th, @ 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


Justin O’Brien

Frank Leavy

Jim Cunningham

Robert O’Neill

Declan Fox

Bridget Cunningham Costello

Jason O’Riain

Sean Lee

Brid Dower












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;

June 22nd 2020

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

Per the City of Phoenix direction and ICLF board input we will remain closed to the public through the months of June-July-August. Please prioritize staying safe and healthy and practice social distancing. We published a statement on Monday June 1st to reiterate our Mission and insupport of people regardless of their unique identity.

The drive we hosted for the Navajo Nation was a tremendous success. Many thanks to Ciara and Jason for their leadership and to all the board, staff and volunteers that made it happen. Here is the summary we created “With the help of 80 volunteers the Arizona Irish community hosted donation drives over two weekends in May to help the Navajo Nation who have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. This was to pay it forward for the kindness demonstrated by the Choctaw Tribe during the Great Irish Famine. 5000 items were individually wiped down and stored in the Great Hall. Urgent items, including face shields from Intel Makers, were flown by a donated air flight to Window Rock and the remaining items were transported in two 50ft trailers by the AZ National Guard.” We also aligned our initiatives to the official (vs. gofundme) donation site. We were honored to receive a Thank You letter from the President of the Navajo Nation.

All staff are continuing to Work From Home during the closure. Training and task hand-off is 90% complete with remaining items focused on onsite activity when we re-open. The Events team have had much success with our virtual offerings using Facebook Live and Zoom including Bloomsday, Coffee and Happy Hour and Library from Home. They did an amazing job on our virtual Bloomsday and I hope you got a chance to participate in some of the activities we offered.

Our $20 membership coupon 2020NewMember is still available online during the closure.
We also launched a test of our Donation Drive process in NEON during Bloomsday and we met our $1000 goal – THANK YOU!

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.