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The Atlantic Philanthropies Archives at Cornell University


Chuck Feeney in Cornell’s 1956 yearbook.

The Atlantic Philanthropies Archives are housed at Cornell University, Atlantic founder Chuck Feeney’s alma mater, in the Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC). Comprised of the paper and digital records primarily from Atlantic’s offices in New York, Ithaca, Bermuda, Dublin, Belfast, London, and Johannesburg,  the Archives are a rich resource for gaining insight into Atlantic’s work over three decades: decisions made, lessons learned, and the people impacted by Chuck Feeney’s generosity.  In the Archives, researchers can find the following types of records:

Corporate records covering the foundation’s grantmaking and operational strategies; decisions to emerge from anonymity and limit its lifespan in keeping   with Chuck Feeney’s belief in Giving While Living; and steps taken to  wind down the foundation’s work.

Processed boxes awaiting labels and barcodes. As of January 2020 over 1200 boxes have been processed by project staff.

Grantmaking records spanning $8+ billion directed primarily to 8 regions around the world. Records document the entire life cycle of 6,500 grants to nearly 2,500 grantees from proposals to final reports, supplemented by files of its executives and program officers.

Stories of impact, evaluations and lessons learned captured in reports, case studies, and a wide range of print, video and visual formats.


Plaque from Atlantic’s Dublin office.

Note: Records are becoming available to researchers on an on-going basis as processing is completed. Access to board meeting materials restricted until 2025.


Tam and gown worn by Chuck Feeney upon accepting an honorary doctorate bestowed to him by the universities of Ireland in 2012.

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Atlantic Philanthropies archives open with first batch of files

The Atlantic Philanthropies and its Archives: Limited Life, Enduring Legacy

Atlantic Philanthropies Will Donate Archives and $4 Million to Cornell University

Foundation’s archives reflect Feeney’s ‘giving while living’

Archives of Atlantic Philanthropies given to Cornell Library


Columbia University Atlantic Philanthropies oral history project

The Oral History Research Office at Columbia University began work on Phase I of the Atlantic Philanthropies Oral History Project in 2005. Interviewees include Atlantic Philanthropies executives, business associates of Chuck Feeney, institutional partners, and grantees. Chuck Feeney himself was interviewed during this phase. Interviews were focused on documenting Feeney’s life, with particular focus on the creation of Duty Free Shoppers, the establishment of Atlantic Philanthropies, and Feeney’s philosophy of “Giving While Living”. Upon its completion in 2008, the first phase contained over 560 hours of testimony given by 138 different narrators.

In 2014, the Columbia Center for Oral History Research at INCITE (formerly OHRO) received a grant from Atlantic Philanthropies to conduct a second set of interviews. Interviews for Phase II were taken between 2014 and 2016, with the focus on documenting the last years of Atlantic’s existence, particularly the changes in its grantmaking, as well as the challenges inherent in becoming a spend-down foundation. Phase II contains 142 oral history sessions with 84 narrators totaling 220 recorded hours.

In 2018, Columbia sent digital copies of the recordings and their transcripts to Cornell University’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.

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