Benefacts is governed by a voluntary Board whose directors are drawn from the nonprofit, philanthropy, and professional services sectors


Tom Boland

Tom Boland is an international consultant focusing on higher-education and research. In August 2016 he stepped down from his role as Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority of Ireland (HEA), ending over two decades at the most senior levels in the Irish education system. Prior to his role in the HEA, he served as Director of Strategic Policy and legal adviser in the Department of Education and Skills. He has been a member of the Benefacts board since December 2016.

He is currently a member of the advisory board of Asia Matters and the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland and has previously served on the boards of HEAnet; IMHE – the OECD’s higher educational programme; the Fulbright Commission; the Central Applications Office and Science Foundation Ireland. He holds degrees in Civil Engineering (NUIG), Law (King’s Inn) and was called to the Bar of Ireland (1989).

Rory Coveney

Rory Coveney is the Strategic Advisor to the Director General & Head of Strategic Partnerships in RTÉ. During the past five years Rory has helped shape RTÉ’s strategic direction during a period of profound political, technological and economic change in Ireland and within the media sector. Prior to joining RTÉ in 2007, Rory worked for a number of years in the Department of Foreign Affairs helping to communicate the value and shape the future direction of Ireland’s overseas development assistance programme, Irish Aid.

Stephen Kinsella

Stephen Kinsella is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Limerick, Ireland, Senior Fellow at the Melbourne School of Government, University of Melbourne, Australia, and Research Associate at the Rhodes Centre for International Finance at Brown University.

Stephen is Chief Economics Writer for The, and was for 4 years a columnist with the Sunday Business Post. He has written for the Guardian, the New York Times, and the Irish Independent and twice won Economic Commentator of the Year for his columns.

Emma Lane-Spollen

Emma Lane-Spollen has worked in a variety of roles in promoting social change. Within Government (seconded to DCYA to develop Better Outcomes Brighter Futures 2014-2020), statutory agencies (Tusla, Child and Family Agency), philanthropy (Deputy CEO, One Foundation; Advisor, the Tony Ryan Trust; CEO, the Tomar Trust) and NGOs (CEO, Comhlámh and Integrating Ireland). This has given her unique insights and valuable understanding of the contributing perspectives and barriers to change. A qualified management accountant and programme manager with a post graduate qualification in Implementation Science and a BA in History and Politics (TCD).

Robert Ottenhoff

Robert G. Ottenhoff is a veteran leader and expert in nonprofit organizations, philanthropy and media. He was Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) from 1992 to 2000.  He recently stepped down as the inaugural president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy based in Washington D.C. CDP works with foundations, corporations, and individuals and seeks to transform how donors think about, respond and contribute to natural disasters.

Prior to joining CDP, he spent a decade as president and CEO of GuideStar, an industry leader in the use of providing high-quality data to help donors make better decisions and improve nonprofit practice. He led efforts to develop a “freemium” business model and create a nationally respected, comprehensive source of reports and services on more than 1.8 million nonprofits.

Patricia Quinn

Patricia Quinn founded Benefacts in 2014 to convert raw data into public information about Irish nonprofits. A former public servant, she was executive director of the Irish Arts Council for seven years, and before that led the cultural development of Dublin’s Temple Bar area. She has served on public commissions for the newspaper and broadcasting industries, and was a member of the RTÉ board for five years. Besides a primary degree in history, she has qualifications in management practice and governance.

Philip Smith

Philip Smith is a partner in Arthur Cox, a leading Irish law firm, where he specialises in Charity Law and Pensions Law and is a member of the firm’s corporate social responsibility committee. He has been a member of the Benefacts board since November 2014. As coordinating partner of Arthur Cox’s Charity Law Group, he advises on the issues affecting charitable and nonprofit organisations and their directors/trustees. He provides specialist advice to a wide range of public, private and nonprofit institutions on questions associated with charity legislation, regulations, fundraising, governance and institutional structures.

Anne Vaughan

Anne Vaughan joined the Board of Benefacts in February 2020.  Until her retirement in December 2018 she was Deputy Secretary in the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for almost 8 years where she had responsibility for policy development and service delivery in relation to working age payments. She has a particular interest in governance and in pensions policy. During her civil service career of 38 years Anne also worked in the Departments of Finance and the Taoiseach. She is now engaged in mentoring and coaching and a number of voluntary bodies, and serves as the Chair of the National Statistics Board.. Anne is a graduate of UCD, TCD and the UCD Smurfit Business School.  She holds a M.Sc. in Public Sector Analysis.


Audit, Governance and Risk

The members of Benefacts’ board audit, governance and risk committee are Emma Lane-Spollen, Philip Smith and John McNamara (non-director).

The committee meets quarterly or more frequently as required. The terms of reference of the committee are here.



Benefacts’ funding agreement with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform  provides for the establishment of a project advisory committee, chaired by an official of the Department to monitor the performance by the company of the activities set out in the agreement.



For the production of its annual sector report, Benefacts convenes an expert group of sector specialists. In 2020 the members of the group are:

  • Oonagh Breen, Professor of Law, Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin
  • Michael Brennan, Statistician CSO
  • James Carroll , Postdoctoral Research Fellow, TCD
  • Eithne Fitzgerald, Economist
  • Deirdre Garvey, CEO, The Wheel
  • John Healy – Executive Director, Genio
  • Andrew Hetherington, CEO, Business To Arts
  • Emma Lane-Spollen, Philanthropy advisor
  • Éilis Murray, CEO, Philanthropy Ireland
  • Anne Vaughan, Chair, National Statistics Board

Annual Reports

download a copy of our 2020 Annual Report

download a copy of our 2019 Annual Report

download a copy of our 2018 Annual Report

download a copy of our 2017 Annual Report

download a copy of our 2016 Annual Report

download a copy of our 2015 Annual Report


download a copy of our Constitution