Regions Republic of Ireland
Planting Investments in Fertile Soil
As both businessman and philanthropist, Atlantic Founder Chuck Feeney was a value investor, seeking to create maximum bang for the buck. He sought investment opportunities especially in underappreciated or undervalued places. When visiting his ancestral home of Ireland in the mid-to-late 1980s to scout properties, he became acutely aware of the recession’s toll on the country. In the face of high unemployment and few prospects for work, university graduates were leaving for other countries, creating a brain drain that could be potentially devastating to Ireland’s future.
Feeney sensed that well-placed philanthropic investments could help invigorate the country. “Chuck is an entrepreneur. He saw a people whose skill sets and opportunities for impact were underdeveloped,” said Christopher G. Oechsli, Atlantic president and CEO.
Atlantic began making grants in 1987 and has kept at it for three decades. Hallmarks of the foundation’s work have included stimulating a knowledge economy by revitalizing higher education, transforming the design and delivery of services for children and older adults, and protecting and expanding human and civil rights for those marginalized in Irish society. The key to Atlantic’s impact was establishing strong working relationships with and among government and nongovernmental organization partners.