Atlantic Philanthropies

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The Atlantic Philanthropies
Atlantic Philanthropies logo.png
Founded 1982
Founder Chuck Feeney
Focus Ageing, youth, human rights, poverty, progressive advocacy[1]
Method Grantmaking
Key people
Chris Oechsli, Martin O'Brien
Endowment $1.4 billion (2012)[2]
Website www.atlanticphilanthropies.org

The Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) is a private foundation created in 1982 by Irish-American businessman Chuck Feeney. The Atlantic Philanthropies focuses its giving on health, social, and politically liberal public policy causes in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam.[3] It is among the largest foreign charitable donors in each of the countries in which it operates,[4] and is the single largest funder of U.S. programs that encourage the civic engagement of older people and of comprehensive immigration reform in the United States.[5][6] With the single largest advocacy grant ever made by a foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies committed $27 million to win passage of the Affordable Care Act in the United States. About half of the Atlantic Philanthropies' grants have been made in donations that allow lobbying.[3]

As of the end of 2013, AP had spent $6.5 billion. It is on track to spend a total of $7.5 billion by the time of its planned closure in 2016.[2] The President and CEO of the Atlantic Philanthropies is Christopher Oechsli.[7] He was appointed in 2011, succeeding Gara LaMarche. Martin O'Brien was appointed Senior Vice President of Programmes shortly thereafter.

One tactic used by the Atlantic Philanthropies is to use the promise of substantial gifts to compel governments and other donors to match. A total of $226 million in Atlantic grants have leveraged $1.3 billion of government money to the Irish university system. Atlantic's most recent grantmaking statistics are from 2012.[8] They will cease giving grants by 2016 or 2017, and will cease to operate a year or two after their grantmaking is concluded.[2][9]

History[edit]

Irish-American businessman Chuck Feeney established the Atlantic Philanthropies in Bermuda in 1982.[10] Born in 1931 to an Irish-American family from New Jersey, following service with the USAF, Feeney went on to study hotel management at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Feeney made his fortune in the duty-free business, co-founding Duty Free Shoppers (DFS). In 1982, the Atlantic Philanthropies made its first grant of $7 million to Cornell University.[11]

In 1984, Feeney transferred his entire 38.75% ownership stake in DFS to what became the Atlantic Philanthropies. Feeney's charitable giving remained anonymous until 1997, when the world learned that Feeney's $1.6 billion cut of the DFS sale belonged not to Feeney but to his foundation.[11]

In 2011, Feeney signed "The Giving Pledge," a campaign to encourage the wealthiest people in the United States to make a commitment to give most of their money to philanthropic causes while they are still alive.[12]

Activities[edit]

AP concentrates its donations in the areas of aging, children and youth, population and health, and reconciliation and human rights.[13] As of 2013, the Atlantic Philanthropies had distributed $6.5 billion.[14]

Australia[edit]

In Australia, AP has donated more than $AUD500 million, including $AUD250 million in Queensland. These donations have been directed toward the building or expansion of 20 research facilities in Australia.[15]

Northern Ireland[edit]

In Northern Ireland, AP has controversially supported the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in its work to develop and promote proposals for a Bill of Rights for the region. It has also funded a coalition of civil society groups, the Bill of Rights Consortium.[16]

Republic of Ireland[edit]

AP has invested over $1 billion in third-level education on the island of Ireland, funding research facilities at the University of Limerick and Dublin City University as well as a library and sports facility at Trinity College Dublin.[17] AP's grants in Ireland have been credited by some for stimulating the Irish economy in the 1990s.[18]

In 2009, AP indicated that it would grant €80 million in Ireland in 2009 to children, elderly and human rights projects.[19] In 2011, AP awarded a €1.2 million grant to Barnados, one of Ireland's best-known children charities.[20]

In 2004–13, AP provided $11.5m and political advice to the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network and three other Irish gay-rights groups.[21][22][23] Prior to the 2015 same-sex marriage referendum, Catholic commentator Breda O'Brien characterised this as "American money buy[ing] an Irish referendum".[23]

United States[edit]

In March 2009, AP pledged $125 million to the University of California, San Francisco to fund a medical center at the Mission Bay campus. At the time, it was the single largest grant the Atlantic Philanthropies had given.[24] The project broke ground in October 2010.[25]

From 2008-10, AP donated $27 million to Health Care for America Now (HCAN) to support their efforts to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[26] It was the single largest advocacy grant ever made by a foundation.[27]

Culminating grants[edit]

In 2014, the Atlantic Philanthropies announced that it was making three major culminating grants: one to foster peace and human rights in Northern Ireland, another to help fund a national dementia strategy in Ireland, and a third to expand the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C.-based liberal think tank.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Preston, Caroline (June 30, 2011). "Atlantic Philanthropies Sends Positive Signal to Advocacy Groups". Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Long Goodbye: Atlantic Philanthropies Approaching The End". The Nonprofit Times. July 29, 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Preston, Julia (November 14, 2014). "The Big Money Behind the Push for an Immigration Overhaul". New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Eskin, Jim (December 23, 2007). "Giving while living makes sense". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Anft, Michael (November 4, 2005). "Getting on Board With Boomers". Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Preston, Caroline (April 25, 2010). "Bring Odd Bedfellows Together to Promote Social Change, Foundations Urged". Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  7. ^ Preston, Caroline (September 28, 2011). "Atlantic Philanthropies Appoints New President". Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  8. ^ http://www.atlanticphilanthropies.org/grantmaking-statistics
  9. ^ Cullen, Paul (July 10, 2012). "Chuck Feeney winding up charitable operations". Irish Times. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "$8m pledged for new philanthropic foundation". The Royal Gazette. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Bertoni, Steven (September 18, 2012). "Chuck Feeney: The Billionaire Who Is Trying To Go Broke". Forbes. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  12. ^ Strom, Stephanie (2011-02-22). "Long After Giving His Money Away, a Donor Takes the Pledge". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Sullivan, Paul (October 31, 2014). "A Billion Still to Spend, and Only Two Years to Do It". New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "About Us". Atlantic Philanthropies. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  15. ^ Grube, Kathy (August 28, 2011). "The Atlantic Philanthropies leads USA delegation to QLD". University of Queensland Australia. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  16. ^ "BBC Northern Ireland". BBC News. 23 August 2010.  BBC report on McWilliams' early departure, and Atlantic Philanthropies funding
  17. ^ The Examiner April 2008
  18. ^ CBS interview (video)
  19. ^ Sunday Tribune May 3 2009
  20. ^ Deegan, Gordon (2011-03-01). "Barnardos raises €8.5m funding - The Irish Times - Tue, Mar 01, 2011". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  21. ^ Cook, Barbary; Rebecca Subar (2014). "Catalysing LGBT Equality and Visibility in Ireland" (PDF). Atlantic Philanthropies. p. 2. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  22. ^ O'Dowd, Niall (October 1, 2014). "Will Ireland vote for gay marriage? Historic vote coming up". Irish Central. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  23. ^ a b O’Brien, Breda (9 May 2015). "Asking questions about funding for referendum campaign". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  24. ^ Synapse - the UCSF Student Newspaper
  25. ^ San Francisco Business Times - by Ron Leuty (2010-10-26). "UCSF starts $1.5B hospital complex | San Francisco Business Times". Bizjournals.com. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  26. ^ "A Big Bet on Advocacy Helps to Make History on Health Care". Atlantic Philanthropies. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  27. ^ LaMarche, Gara (October 30, 2014). "Is Philanthropy Bad for Democracy?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  28. ^ Callahan, David. "A Closer Look at Atlantic's End Game—And Where It's Putting the Biggest Money". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 

External links[edit]