Atlantic Philanthropies Winds Down
19 August 2003 at 1:08 pm
One of the world’s largest private charitable funds based in the US, the Atlantic Philanthropies, which has funding ties to Australia has decided it will become a limited-life philanthropy.
Atlantic Philanthropies expects to spend down its substantial endowment over the next 12 to 15 years.
The fund was formed in 1982 combining The Atlantic Foundation and the Atlantic Trust, and several smaller philanthropies based in Bermuda, Great Britain, Ireland and the United States.
It was established by American billionaire Charles Feeney who made his fortune from duty free shops,
Its aim is to select and evaluate potential grant recipients, oversee grants that have been awarded, and manage the endowment. At the end of 2002, the organisation’s asset base was approximately US$3.9 billion; of this, approximately US$900 million has been committed to grantees.
Between 1982 and 2002 Atlantic awarded grants to the value of US$2.9 billion. Grants worth $350 million were awarded in 2002.
During that time the Philanthropies have donated more than $AUD160 million anonymously to Australian projects ranging from medical research to disability support groups.
Olympic Champion Ron Clarke set up his fundraising and disbursing body , the Council for Encouragement of Philanthropy in Australia or CEPA initially with funding from Atlantic Philanthropies to meet the operating expenses as well as providing project funds worth $AUD5million.
Atlantic Philanthropies also offered $AUD25 million to the Royal Children’s Hospital to expand its research into childhood illnesses, including cancer and heart disease and Feeney’s donation is thought to be one of the largest made in Australia.
Atlantic Philanthropies has made substantial donations to other research institutes and Australian universities in recent years particularly in Queensland.
John Healy, chief executive officer and president of The Atlantic Philanthropies says the decision to put themselves out of business in a deliberate and measured way over time is wholly in keeping with their belief in giving while living.
But he says it has also sharpened the need for the organisation to achieve, as part of its legacy, a meaningful impact that endures beyond the life of the organisation.
Healy added that The Atlantic Philanthropies are convinced that they can achieve this impact by concentrating on fields where they can help make enduring changes to systems and structures.
Beginning in 2004, The Atlantic Philanthropies’ new investments will be focused on four program fields, in specific geographic areas:
Ageing: programs in Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and the United States.
Disadvantaged Children and Youth: Bermuda, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and the United States.
Health of Populations: South Africa and Vietnam.
Reconciliation and Human Rights: Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States.
At the same time, Atlantic will continue to honour in full all grant commitments entered into by its Board in these and other fields, including higher education, pre-collegiate education, and the Not for Profit sector.
For the balance of this year, Healy says new grant making will be limited as The Atlantic Philanthropies complete the transition, and the policy of not accepting uninvited proposals for funding will continue.