Atlantic made history in 2012 when it announced its largest single grant ever—$350 million to fund the first stage of a new Cornell Tech campus in New York City. The investment in the two million square foot applied science and engineering campus on Roosevelt Island reflects Atlantic founder Chuck Feeney’s belief in the continuous payoff that comes from making big bets in higher education.
The new campus has become a magnet for world-class researchers, young entrepreneurs and business incubators. At the time of Atlantic’s grant, an impact assessment forecasted that the new campus would create an estimated 20,000 short-term construction jobs, 38,000 permanent jobs and 600 spin-off companies, and generate more than $23 billion in economic activity and $1.4 billion in additional tax revenues in its first three decades. Cornell is also partnering with New York City’s public schools on programs designed to help students develop a deep, genuine interest in science, technology, engineering and math, and prepare them for college and further technical education.
Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts
In size alone, the Atlantic investment in the Cornell Tech Campus stands out. But there’s more:
An Example for Others
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that the Cornell Tech campus is an example of how Chuck Feeney’s giving over the years has supported projects “that create lasting, transformative change” and that also inspires “others to do what they can to make our world a better place.”
A Place for Great Minds
The Cornell Tech campus was envisioned as a world-class facility combining academic innovation with applied research and practical applications, as well as a forum for thinkers from different fields to connect and challenge one another’s ideas and theories.
Observers have said the Cornell Tech project is potentially the “most transformative capital grant in Atlantic’s history.” It’s also considered a model for what other cities ought to be doing to help accelerate change into the digital age.
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