Skip to main content

Harvest Time for The Atlantic Philanthropies – 2014-2016: Finished, But Not Done

Resource type: Research Report

Tony Proscio, Duke University Center for Strategic Philanthropy & Civil Society |

This is the sixth paper in the “Harvest Time” series on the concluding years of The Atlantic Philanthropies, the largest endowed institution to put all its charitable assets to use in a fixed period of time and then close its doors. “Finished, But Not Done” covers the period from the end of 2014 through the end of 2016, less than four years before Atlantic expects to complete its work and close.

This report chronicles Atlantic’s plans to conclude its operations and its culminating “big bets” that seek to address 21st century problems and produce significant, lasting results in the fields and places where the foundation had long invested.

Topics covered include:

  • Design and launch of the Atlantic Fellows program, an international, interconnected set of fellowship programs to empower emerging leaders to advance fairer, healthier, more inclusive societies.
  • The foundation’s “unprecedented push” to communicate lessons and principles learned over 35 years of grantmaking, particularly to inform the work of new and younger philanthropists;
  • Progress Atlantic made implementing plans to manage staff needs and transitions; and
  • How the foundation managed its “ever dwindling” endowment to ensure it would be able to meet all outstanding obligations over coming years.

In his concluding comments, Proscio notes that at the end of the period his report covers, Atlantic’s work was continuing “at a lively pace, with large, new, and risky initiatives still in their infancy and the agenda for the next three years still written only in pencil.”

Atlantic commissioned this report. The final paper in this series is expected to be published in late 2019.