Much has already been written in praise of the late John Hume's Herculean work for peace, but relatively little about his key role in helping to bring millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to cross-border projects through the International Fund for Ireland (IFI).
The objective was to promote economic and social advancement and to encourage dialogue and contacts between unionists and nationalists in border counties.
The IFI, as distinct from Sir Tony O'Reilly's Ireland Fund, was established in 1986 by the British and Irish Governments, with contributions over the next two decades and more from the US and EU, as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Since then it has supported over 6,000 projects in border counties, helped to create 55,000 jobs directly and indirectly, and also helped create financial leverage of some £1.4bn from other sources.
The idea for the IFI arose on this side of the Atlantic, where the late Sir George Quigley, a former senior civil servant at Stormont, was one of the key movers.
However, a major factor was the lobbying of US policy-makers to persuade them to take a significant step to fund border projects in the Republic but also in Northern Ireland, which had been regarded by many Americans as the sole responsibility of the UK.
This was a lobbying task to which John Hume was ideally suited.
He had major contacts in Washington including Tip O'Neill, the hugely influential Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
He and his wife Millie came to Ireland in 1981, and John and Pat Hume brought them to the site of O'Neill's ancestral home at Buncrana in Donegal.
During his visit O'Neill was given a tour of Derry and he asked John Hume: "Why are all these men standing around street corners?"
Hume told him it was because they had no work.
This helped galvanise O'Neill to lend his considerable political weight to finding money to help set up the IFI.
His daughter Rosemary confirmed to me in an interview in Washington: "My father was thrilled by his visit to Donegal. Ireland was such an integral part of him, and loved just being able to do something to help."
Meanwhile, Hume worked hard with his many sympathetic contacts in Washington, including Senator Ted Kennedy, and he also had contacts with President Jimmy Carter, who had been persuaded by O'Neill, Kennedy and others to take an interest in Ireland.
O'Neill was also instrumental in bending the ear of President Ronald Reagan, who was helped by the Irish Embassy in Washington to "discover" his Irish roots.
He accepted an invitation to a St Patrick's Day lunch at the Embassy and he noted the Irish flag on display.
He told the then Ambassador Sean Donlon: "My great, great grandfather would be very proud of this."
It was no coincidence that Reagan went to Ballyporeen during his visit to Ireland in June 1984.
Reagan had an excellent personal relationship with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and no doubt helped to allay her fears about help for the IFI from purely US sources.
The remit was therefore widened to include Commonwealth countries, and later the European Union.
All the pieces of the complex political jigsaw eventually fell into place and on September 18, 1986 the IFI was established. It was a considerable achievement in less than a year after the bitterly divisive Anglo-Irish Agreement of November 1985 which had driven such a wedge, between unionists and Thatcher.
The IFI has been a great success.
Former chairman Willie McCarter said: "Its work can be seen in almost every city, town and village of the border counties."
More than two decades later John Hume revealed to me some of the details of his role in this remarkable achievement.
As he sat in his home in Derry with his beloved wife Pat by his side, I marvelled that John so matter-of-factly told his story of dealing with some of the world's most powerful politicians.
John Hume was indeed a political titan, as Tony Blair has rightly recalled.
But he was also a man of immense charm who carried his considerable achievements with great modesty and grace.
That is what I gratefully remember about him most.
Northern Ireland Premium
The town that John Hume loved so well, in song and in his heart, showed the feeling was mutual yesterday as people in his native Derry hailed their colossus of change amid calls for the city's peace bridge to be renamed in his honour.