Most successful entrepreneurs, eventually, become social entrepreneurs. They quickly learn that being action oriented will bring a new way of thinking to many traditional Boards and managements of charitable, and related, organizations. In some cases, these corporate entrepreneurs turned social entrepreneurs will be asked to, or suggest, totally new organizations be created to solve a need, which is mostly fundraising. The following are just some of the initiatives where John’s entrepreneurial approach would prove to be a big asset because in each case, it was a completely new undertaking, or approach. They include:
As the first President of this newly created Foundation, he was tasked with creating a new organization, regenerating interest in the Library, and raising a $20 million endowment for this high visibility organization.
Visit to John F. Kennedy Library by Nelson Mandela on his first trip to the United States with John Cullinane as Master of Ceremonies (video)
John Cullinane, Irishman of the Year Award by the Friends of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation (video)
As Founding Chair, he created the Foundation and recruited its first Board of Directors. The original goal was to raise $17 million dollars for restoration of the Boston Public Library’s Copley Square Branch, a government owned building, which made it a very difficult undertaking. With the help of his wife, Diddy, he dramatically increased the awareness of the great importance of the Boston Public Library to the community by moving it from below the radar to the jewel in the crown of Boston’s great institutions. The Foundation has since raised in excess of $80 million for the Library.
Telethon – “The Boston Public Library – It Speaks Volumes” (video)
Peace in Ireland Through Jobs
The Clinton Administration and Economic Investment in Northern Ireland (paper)
President William Clinton video “Days Like This” of his first trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he introduced two of John Cullinane’s job creating initiatives, including an Irish BIRD (Binational Industrial Research & Development Foundation) (video)
Irish BIRD (Binational Industrial Research & Development Foundation) Questions & Answers (paper)
Friends of Belfast
John recommended that the City of Belfast create the Friends of Belfast to help outreach and networking for the City in the United States. The purpose was to help secure the jobs that would lead to peace in Northern Ireland. However, when the City had difficulty doing it so he did it for them. The Friends would be effective in uniting both Catholics and Protestants, in a common goal of peace in Northern Ireland through jobs.
University of Ulster, John Cullinane Honorary Degree Ceremony, John F. Kennedy Library (video)
Laying of wreath over SS Laurentic, ship lost in WWI off Northern Ireland with Walter Fitzgerald, John Cullinane’s Uncle, on board (video)
He initiated an entrepreneurial effort to “wire” the poorest Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Boston for the Internet. Something like this had never been done in the Archdiocese, before. It was funded by the government’s very imaginative E-rate program which helps the poorest schools, first. In addition, numerous Greater Boston companies contributed consulting, computers, software, etc., to the effort. It was enormously successful as these very poor, inner city schools, became state of the art in computer technology. It had a major positive impact on the morale of both students and teachers.
Co-chaired with his wife Diddy, they raised the most amount ever in the history of Opening Night despite a terrible economy as the Country was in an economic meltdown at the time. It was accomplished by recognizing the potential value of the 7 million world wide visitors to the BSO website each year. As a result, the website was used to attract new donors by showcasing their companies, or organizations, on the website for a year. New donors would make up over 40% of the total raised.