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Philanthropy Working with Government: A Case Study of The Atlantic Philanthropies’ Partnership with the Irish Government

Resource type: Case Study

Richard Boyle / Institute of Public Administration |

Atlantic’s work in the Republic of Ireland between 2003-2014 positively contributed to the development of government policy and practice, especially in the areas of service delivery for children and older adults, according to a study by the Institute of Public Administration.

Researchers say Atlantic had a direct influence on key government policy statements, including Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures — a national policy framework for children and young people; the Irish National Dementia Strategy; and the National Positive Ageing Strategy.

Atlantic’s approach to change policy and practice was to foster partnerships with the government, encourage innovative alternative ways to deliver services, and promote evidence gathering. The report cites how Atlantic:

  • Brokered relationships with and between government agencies and nongovernmental organizations and created neutral, safe spaces where participants could come together and work toward common goals;
  • Encouraged policymakers and NGOs to shift their thinking from a focus on activities to a shared desire to achieve outcomes and how best to reach them;

  • Provided practical examples of alternative service delivery approaches that illustrated the benefits of making change; and
  • Brought additional rigor to the partnerships in seeking out good quality evidence to provide guidance for policy and practice.

The report also identifies challenges, including a view by some in the government that Atlantic’s approach to gathering evidence was burdensome.

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Read the report (PDF)

This report was commissioned by The Atlantic Philanthropies.