|Focus||Ageing, youth, human rights, poverty, progressive advocacy|
|Chris Oechsli, Martin O'Brien|
|Endowment||$1.4 billion (2012)|
The Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) is a private foundation created in 1982 by Irish-American businessman Chuck Feeney. The Atlantic Philanthropies' grant-making supports health, social, and public policy causes in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam. It is among the largest foreign charitable donors in each of the countries in which it operates, 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. 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.
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. The President and CEO of the Atlantic Philanthropies is Christopher Oechsli. 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. They will cease giving grants by 2016 or 2017, and will cease to operate a year or two after their grantmaking is concluded.
Irish-American businessman Chuck Feeney established the Atlantic Philanthropies in Bermuda in 1982. 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.
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.
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.
AP concentrates its donations in the areas of aging, children and youth, population and health, and reconciliation and human rights. As of 2013, the Atlantic Philanthropies had distributed $6.5 billion.
In Australia, AP has invested more than $AUD500 million in funding, including $AUD250 million to Queensland. These donations have helped to build or expand 20 research facilities in Australia.
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. It funded Big Telly, the longest established professional theatre company in Northern Ireland, to produce a theatre program for seniors called "Spring Chickens." The initiative led to performances across Northern Ireland, and was scripted and produced by older people.
Republic of Ireland
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. AP's grants to Irish education are credited with helping initiate a boom in the Irish economy in the 1990s.
In 2009, AP indicated that it would grant €80 million in Ireland in 2009 to children, elderly and human rights projects. In 2011, AP awarded a €1.2 million grant to Barnados, one of Ireland's best-known children charities.
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. The project broke ground in October 2010.
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 It was the single largest advocacy grant ever made by a foundation.
Partnering with the East Meets West Foundation (EMW), the Atlantic Philanthropies helped to fund the Hue Ophthalmology and Training Center, a $4 million addition to Hue Central Hospital. Due for completion by the end of 2009, the project aimed to upgrade treatment of severe eye illnesses.
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.
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