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A Letter from the President and CEO

Resource type: News

The Atlantic Philanthropies |

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Now that I am settled into my new position as President and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies, I wanted to take a moment to tell you how special it is for me to have the opportunity to work with this organisation and its outstanding community of grantees once again.  I’ve been a part of Atlantic and its related companies for more than 17 years, and am proud of the tremendous impact Atlantic grantees have made around the world.  Atlantic’s mission is to bring about lasting change in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people, but it is only through the hard work of our remarkable grantees and their allies that this mission is realised.  It is a privilege for us to be part of this community and support this work.

What Atlantic is trying to do as a limited life foundation is unprecedented.  We plan to commit our remaining $2.5 billion endowment in grants by the end of 2016, and to wind up all of our work by 2020.  At that time, Atlantic will be the largest foundation to have spent its entire endowment.  This decision is driven by our Founding Chairman Chuck Feeney’s belief in Giving While Living and his desire to encourage others with substantial means to engage themselves and devote their wealth to improving the human condition. It is also our belief that if we address urgent issues now, they are much less likely to become larger, more entrenched and more expensive challenges later.    

As we enter this final chapter of grantmaking, our abiding concern is to assess how we can achieve the greatest possible impact with the resources we have left, in the time we have remaining.  For that reason, my first step as President and CEO is to work with our staff and Board to undertake a thorough review of our grantmaking strategies.  I can assure you that Atlantic is fully committed to our four core programme areas and Founding Chairman grants, and to our existing geographies.  We intend to maintain a tight focus on these existing areas and will work thoughtfully to determine how to achieve the most significant impact possible over the next five years.

Though we are committed to our existing core programmes and geographies, and an overall grantmaking end date of 2016, it is likely that some specific strategies and aspects of our programmes – and even some geographies – will be wound-down sooner than others.  That is an inevitable aspect of our limited life trajectory.  We have deep respect for all our grantees and funding partners, and are committed to being transparent and considerate throughout this period.   

Atlantic’s limited lifetime presents us with special challenges but it also serves to heighten our desire to be effective.  We are energised by the possibilities ahead of us. 

I look forward to the opportunity to work together with our grantees and funding partners to bring about lasting change in Atlantic’s remaining years. 

With warm regards,


Christopher G. Oechsli
President and CEO
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.