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DRI launches Atlantic Philanthropies Archives Project

The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) is pleased to announce that it will house a digital archive of The Atlantic Philanthropies’ granting activities in Ireland. This three-year project will make select research collections about the foundation’s approaches and impact across Ireland available online, and preserve them for persistent access. This digital archive will build upon The Atlantic Philanthropies’ archive housed at Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in Ithaca, New York, which includes the foundation’s complete paper and electronic records spanning 35 years of grantmaking in eight regions.

DRI’s role is part of a larger ‘Active Curation’ project supported by Atlantic Philanthropies to encourage the development of philanthropy for social change, particularly for disadvantaged or vulnerable people. Partners include Cornell University Library, Bridgespan Group, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and Fast Company.

Over 30 years, Atlantic invested €1.6 billion in Ireland, including Northern Ireland, to advance higher education, human rights, further the peace process in the North, and improve services and policies for young people and older adults. The impact of Atlantic’s investments in Ireland has been vast and at times transformational. The DRI’s project will document this impact on organisations and individuals, creating digital exhibitions rich with ephemera, media, and testimonies that build a narrative around the archival materials, and work to promote philanthropic investment in Ireland. This major new resource will provide a wealth of information for researchers and philanthropists, and will help to tell the stories of those whose lives have been touched by the grants. Because of the wide span of Atlantic’s impact, these stories will provide a window into social change in Ireland over the last three decades. 

“We are honoured and excited to be involved in this collaboration with Atlantic Philanthropies, Cornell University Library, and other partners in the United States who support the important work of philanthropists,” said Dr. Natalie Harrower, Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland. “Atlantic Philanthropies’ investment in Ireland has had a deep and wide impact, contributing significantly to higher education, human and civil rights, reconciliation, aging, health, children and youth, and migration issues. We are pleased to have been chosen as the digital repository for Atlantic’s Irish records, and will work hard to develop exhibitions and events that explore the stories behind the grants, and the impact they have had on daily lives.”

The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to advancing opportunity, equity and human dignity. Established in 1982, when Chuck Feeney quietly committed virtually all of his assets to the foundation, Atlantic has since made grants totaling $8 billion. In keeping with Mr. Feeney’s “Giving While Living,” big-bet philosophy, Atlantic invests in systemic change to accelerate improvements in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The foundation, which has operated in Australia, Bermuda, Cuba, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam, completed all grant making in 2016 and will conclude operations shortly afterward. To learn more, please visit: www.atlanticphilanthropies.org.