This paper has been prepared from publically available information; in order to stimulate debate on the role philanthropy should play in funding Irish Universities. It suggests that philanthropy can play a very significant role but will require sustained investment. The paper argues that a good starting point is to set a philanthropic goal for the sector as whole. As only publicly available sources have been used, and the research has been self-funded, it does not claim to have captured the full picture and its conclusions need to be considered in that context. We do hope however that it will encourage debate, lead to more comprehensive research and a greater visibility of how a key factor in Ireland's future prosperity, third level education, can attain and defend a competitive position in the global marketplace.