5th February 2018

The Atlantic Philanthropies has published a book which tells the story of their 30 years of grantmaking in the Republic of Ireland. It provides insight to the impact and the lessons learned since their first grant in 1987. Since then Atlantic has awarded more than 1,000 grants in Ireland, totalling over €1 billion. Genio has been privileged to receive support from the Atlantic Philanthropies and we are delighted that our work has been profiled in this book. 

"Genio can work closely with the Government providers, with the policy makers, with the delivery system, and can infuse that with a vision of how this will best deliver the services that the service user wants," Mary Sutton, Country Director for the Rep. of Ireland, the Atlantic Philanthropies

Because Atlantic believe that it’s imperative to address deeply rooted problems sooner rather than later, many of their grants were “big bets” designed to produce lasting results. One of these "big bets" is the Service Reform Fund (SRF), which has been created by the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Atlantic Philanthropies in collaboration with Genio to implement mental health and disability service reform in Ireland. The Service Reform Fund represents a total combined investment of €45m by the funding partners, of which The Atlantic Philanthropies has invested €15 million and the Department of Health, €30 million. These reforms will focus on ensuring that person-centred and recovery-oriented services and supports are embedded, in line with government policy. 

"The concept that Genio brought to the table was around 'how do you go about unlocking massive resources tied up in traditional delivery mechanisms and transitioning to a new model?'....Bridging that gap, understanding that gap and being innovative around how you can demonstrate where you could go and therefore feedback into the system....That piece requires a very sophisticated understanding of how systems function... I think that space is one where Genio has been able to articulate a model but then has been able to demonstrate its effectiveness," Mary Sutton, Country Director for the Rep. of Ireland, the Atlantic Philanthropies.

The SRF programme of work is currently underway in disability and mental health.

About the Atlantic Philanthropies

The Atlantic Philanthropies were founded by entrepreneur Chuck Feeney, who decided in 1982 to devote his wealth to the service of humanity. A champion of Giving While Living, Feeney has long maintained that people of wealth should use it to better the world during their lifetimes. That belief, which has been a driving influence in their work, led their trustees to decide in 2002 to limit Atlantic’s life to a fixed term. Atlantic, which plans to close its doors in 2020, completed its grantmaking at the end of 2016. Over 35 years, they invested a total of $8 billion in promising programs and people across the world and in places where we saw the chance to create opportunity and promote greater fairness and equity for all.

"Chuck Feeney and The Atlantic Philanthropies changed the way Ireland sees itself and the way others look at us. It has also transformed the idea of Giving While Living. While there will never be another Atlantic, the priority is to find other philanthropists who may be inspired to follow in what has been described as the “broad and deep footprint” that The Atlantic Philanthropies have left on the Irish landscape and in the hearts and minds of its people." Liam Collins, Author, The Atlantic Philanthropies: Republic of Ireland.

About Chuck Feeney

Chuck Feeney was born on 23 April 1931, into an Irish American family in New Jersey, the second of three children. After serving in the Korean War and graduating from Cornell University, he and three partners established Duty Free Shoppers, which would become the largest chain of airport retail shops in the world. While being successful in business was satisfying to him, Feeney was uncomfortable with the trappings of great wealth and founded The Atlantic Foundation in 1982, the first of The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Feeney wanted Atlantic’s giving to be anonymous. “The desire for anonymity was a combination of Chuck’s humility and a desire to fly under the radar and be nimble,” says Christopher G. Oechsli, Atlantic’s president and CEO since 2011. “He wanted to meet people, talk, learn and act without attracting a lot of attention or recognition.”

While publicly silent about Atlantic’s work, he played an active role, traveling to the places where Atlantic’s grants were being made, visiting the people who were acting on and benefiting from them. As in his business enterprises, Feeney was always seeking promising investment opportunities in historically underappreciated and undervalued places (Limerick, Ireland; DaNang, Viet Nam; Queensland, Australia; the Western Cape in South Africa, among others) and finding leaders pursuing their passion for big change.

(Extracts from

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