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Maria Pignataro Nielsen Appointed Human Resources Director at The Atlantic Philanthropies

Resource type: News

The Atlantic Philanthropies |

Maria Pignataro Nielsen has been appointed Director of Human Resources at The Atlantic Philanthropies, effective immediately, President and CEO Gara LaMarche announced today. 

Nielsen will be responsible for developing and executing global HR strategies and programs that will enhance the foundation’s organizational performance while supporting its culture, values and mission.  In addition, she will work closely with other senior staff on processes related to the foundation’s spend down plans to close its doors by the end of 2020. 

Nielsen joins Atlantic from Human Rights Watch where she served as the Global Director of Human Resources since 1999, and where she worked in human resources since 1995.  Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, she worked in an administrative capacity at the law firm of White & Case.  She is a graduate of Barnard College in New York and is certified by the Society for Human Resources Management as a Senior Professional in Human Resources, with a Certificate in International Assignment Management.  She serves on the international Board of Directors of InsideNGO and on its Human Resources Advisory Council, and was a founding member of the Steering Committee for the Psychosocial Initiative of Action Without Borders.

“Maria is versed in every aspect of human resources work and a veteran professional in a global organization, Human Rights Watch, whose mission and values have much in common with Atlantic,” said LaMarche.  “I am delighted she is joining our senior leadership team as we seek to make the maximum use of our financial and human resources as we bring the foundation to a close over the next decade.”

“I am thrilled to be joining The Atlantic Philanthropies,” said Nielsen.  “I look forward to working with staff to strengthen the capacity of Atlantic’s human resources in order to advance social justice and lasting change.”


 About The Atlantic Philanthropies

The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic makes grants through its four programme areas – Ageing, Children & Youth, Population Health, and Reconciliation & Human Rights – and through Founding Chairman grants. Programmes funded by Atlantic operate in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam.  To learn more, please visit:


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Maria Pignataro Nielsen