8 December 2022
By Elaine Murphy
Apple grows its partnership with Field of Dreams
Apple is growing its partnership with the Cork branch of Down Syndrome Ireland to continue to support the development of the Field of Dreams project in Curraheen, Co. Cork. Building on a relationship that has been in place for the last five years, Apple will now bring Field of Dreams into its education engagement programme.
Opened in 2017, Field of Dreams has provided education, training and growth opportunities for adults with Down Syndrome in a safe, secure and inspirational environment. From a greenfield site, Field of Dreams has developed into a state-of-the-art facility with the support of companies like Apple. The multi-purpose centre spans three-acres and boasts a training room, a commercial grade kitchen with cafe area, polytunnels, gardens, a covered courtyard and recreational areas.
Apple was the first corporate sponsor to come on board with the project in 2017, and employees have volunteered thousands of hours to support with gardening, landscaping, maintenance and on site events. In bringing its education programme to Field of Dreams, Apple has donated iPads and associated accessories to enable Apple volunteers to support the centre’s Literacy and Technology Programme.
Brian O’Leary, an Apple employee who helps to coordinate the company’s support for Field of Dreams, says: “When people volunteer at the Field of Dreams, they walk away feeling they’ve made an impact, and that’s what makes us all come back. This organization is making a real difference in the lives of the people it’s serving, and to play even a small role in that means a great deal.”
“During the pandemic, the site became a little unkempt — the weeds don’t stop growing,” says Debbie Kelleher, the Field of Dreams’ care coordinator. “But Brian came out after the restrictions were lifted and said that the Apple teams were very keen to help out more regularly. We now have Apple volunteers here almost every Friday — we call them Apple Fridays.”
Since its inception 11 years ago, Apple’s Employee Giving program has raised over $880 million dollars for almost 44,000 organizations globally. That includes the work of more than 76,000 employees, who have logged more than 2.1 million volunteer hours. For every hour an Apple employee volunteers or dollar they donate, Apple matches with a monetary donation to the same organization. Since the beginning of 2022, Apple employees in Cork have clocked up more than 15,700 volunteering hours in support of charities across Ireland. Nearly 50% of the Cork team have participated in volunteerism this year, which leads the way for all Apple sites globally.