Challenge and Change
This letter from Atlantic’s former President and CEO, Gara LaMarche, is the first in an annual series that will chronicle the work of The Atlantic Philanthropies as it spends down its assets and closes its doors by 2020.
In 2009, Atlantic made 401 grants, totaling $375 million.
2009-10 has been a time of change, challenge and promise – both for The Atlantic Philanthropies and our grantees, and for the countries where we work, almost all of which experienced leadership and political transitions and economic stress. For some priority Atlantic issues, like health care reform in the United States, rural land rights in South Africa, and lesbian, gay and bisexual rights in Ireland, we celebrated important victories that were long in coming. These victories validate the philosophy of our Founding Chairman Chuck Feeney to make big bets in grantmaking. For others, it will take more time. Fundamental change can take years of tenacity from dedicated advocates, and our job is to help them get, keep and hone the tools they need to achieve it.
In this letter, I am happy to report on what Atlantic has been doing in the past 20 months to help our grantees respond to these challenges and strengthen them – and ourselves, to serve them better – for the ones ahead.