The Atlantic Philanthropies were founded by entrepreneur Charles F. (“Chuck”) Feeney (1931-), who decided to devote his wealth to the service of humanity in 1982. A champion of ‘’Giving While Living’’, Feeney has long maintained that people of wealth should use it to better the world during their lifetimes. Over 35 years, Atlantic disbursed more than $8 billion to support promising programs and people to advance opportunity and promote equity. Because of The Atlantic Philanthropies’ believe that it is imperative to address deeply rooted problems sooner than later, many of their grants were so called “big bets” designed to produce lasting results. The organization has been working in Australia, Bermuda, Cuba, Northern Ireland and Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam. It made its final grant commitments in 2016 and will close in 2020.
Over a period of 30 years, The Atlantic Philanthropies invested €1.6 billion in the island of Ireland to advance higher education, human rights, further the peace process in the North, and improve services and policies for young people and older adults. The impact of Atlantic’s investments in Ireland has been described as vast and at times transformational.
To document Atlantic’s work on the island of Ireland this collection draws materials from grant making records of The Atlantic Philanthropies entire archive housed at Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in Ithaca, New York. This collection extends to 60 grant files, containing records that document the entire life cycle of grants-from proposals to final reports and printed ephemera, such as brochures.
Curatorial the collection has been developed using a thematic approach. Main themes include human rights, education and communities. Sub-themes include LGBTQ people, migrants, disability, reconciliation, infrastructure, knowledge and learning, knowledge application, senior citizens, children and youth and citizen participation. In addition to grant documentation, oral histories were captured by Digital Repository of Ireland as part The Atlantic Philanthropies Archive Project (2017-2020). These have informed the selection criteria of grant-making activities presented in this collection.