Letter from Jonathan Irwin clarifying where the money goes in Jack & Jill

Dear Supporter


Jonathan Irwin

All this publicity about charity chief top ups is damaging. I’m writing this letter to clarify where the money donated to Jack & Jill goes and to urge supporters to stick with us, especially for those Christmas donations which we depend on to fund our home nursing care model into 2014.

While the Jack & Jill Foundation receives €519,000 which is 19% of the €2.7 million we need every year from the HSE, it is the general public that funds Jack & Jill. The money you donate funds intensive home nursing care for children with life limiting conditions from birth to 4 years old, as well as end of life care for children sent home to die. Our home nursing care model, that has supported 1,700 children since 1997, is nine times less expensive than hospital care, thus saving the State and the taxpayer millions every year. So the Jack & Jill Foundation funds the HSE and not the other way around.

Having said that, we are very thankful for and depend on our HSE grant which covers the cost of our fundraising division in terms of accounts, HR, IT and our fundraising team, including my own salary as CEO and Chief Fundraiser. That means that money donated by our supporters goes directly to fund home nursing for the 300 children under our wing, including the salaries of 11 liaison nurses across the country and the funding of up to 64 hours per month per family.

As CEO, my salary is just under €90,000 today and I’ve been very open about that. For the first 6 years of running Jack & Jill I did not draw a salary for this busy role which is 7 days a week. I can assure you that I get no top up payments, no bonus, no pension. My salary is justified on the basis that since 1997 we have supported 1,700 children with home nursing care and raised €47 million privately while we’ve received only €4.5 million from the HSE. So my salary as a percentage of the fundraising I’ve done is less than 2%.

I also want to remind our supporters of the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the Jack & Jill home nursing care model. I am very proud to say that we have one of the best qualified teams of paediatric nurses in the country. They give practical advice on caring for the child, really listen to the family and make representations on their behalf to the government and HSE. Families call this service the “gift of time”. Time to do the normal things that we all take for granted, like sleeping, working, shopping or taking the healthy children to the park in the knowledge that their sick child is well cared for at home.

Furthermore, our end of life care model has no waiting list. Nursing is provided in the home within 24 hours, once the decision by the parents is made to take their child home to die. We listen to and help co-ordinate parents’ wishes at the time of the child’s death, liaising with expert counsellors. We cover 26 counties and are one of the only out of hour paediatric services providing hands on care in the home, funding up to 64 hours per month per family.

The bottom line is that without the generosity of the General Public we would not exist. We also rely on the generosity of our network of volunteers who give their time free and our corporate partners. We work hard for every cent we raise, and we make every cent count, with every €16 raised funding one hour of home nursing care.


On behalf of the families we support, we thank you for your continued support which keeps us going.


Yours sincerely

Jonathan Irwin

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  1. JOHN O MEARA says:

    jonathan (Nobody who has met you or knows could ever call into you integrity ) MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS ERIKA CAWLEY

  2. Michael says:

    Jonathan …. Why doesn’t J&J make their accounts available on the website?

  3. admin says:

    First of all, on behalf of Jonathan, thanks so much for the comments!
    @Michael, we are trying to maintain as much transparency as possible regarding our income and costs with some figures being published regularly through our quarterly newsletter. It is clear from your request that we can/must improve the way we publicize these things and try making them more comprehensive in order to make sure of full transparency. We will take this in matter consideration and see what can be made public (some privacy policies must be, from a legal point of view, followed) and what can’t.

    Kindest regards,

    The Jack & Jill Team

  4. Ashling Nibbs says:

    I just spoke to Jonathan Irwin only yesterday and can honestly say that I sincerely wish that senior management within the HSE and Department of Health were as honest and as passionate about caring for seriously ill children as he is. He has the drive, determination and vision to see Let’s not forget that Jack & Jill came about as a result of his own little boy Jack, being sent home to die with no support for him and his wife, and their determination that no child in Ireland should ever have to suffer the same fate. Having received help in caring for our son, Órán, from the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation, I can honestly that Jonathan and his team give hope, respite and practical help to families who are literally on their knees despairing of the lack of support when trying to come to terms with caring for a seriously/terminally ill child. PLEASE do not let these stories stop anyone from giving to a genuine charity that actually does exactly what it claims to. No-one deserves it more.

  5. Marie Haughan says:

    While I am furious at the top up in recent days of indivuiduaL. I could not in my heart stop my contribution to Jack & Jill The wonderfull work they do is inspiring. Keep up the good work

  6. Stewart vaughan says:

    I was reared in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal. I have a grand niece outside Dublin who requires the services of Jack & Jill.
    Her parents and Grandparents always praise your services.
    Thank you & God bless all of your staff and supporters.