October 26, 2015

Atlantic Philanthropies Gives Archives to Cornell

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Atlantic Philanthropies, an organization that has given billions of dollars to support projects around the world, will donate its archives, along with a $4 million gift, to Cornell.

Since its founding in 1982 by Chuck Feeney ’56, Atlantic Philanthropies has given numerous gifts to Cornell totalling nearly $1 billion for the University, including $350 million for Cornell Tech and a gift establishing the and Cornell tradition.

After a year-long tour and selection process, the organization has decided to house its archives in Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.



“We selected Cornell not because it was Chuck’s alma mater, but because Cornell has the best digital resources in the country,” said Christopher Oechsli, president and CEO of Atlantic Philanthropies.

Garrett said Feeney’s impact can be seen “everywhere you turn,” citing the numerous contributions his organization has made for the University and the immense effect he has had in shaping the University over the years. The archives serve as evidence of his dedication to philanthropy.

“The archives document Atlantic’s extraordinary philanthropic work around the world,” Garrett said. “It captures the foundation’s unique strategic approach — its focus on big-bet giving, giving for impact and, most importantly, Chuck Feeney’s commitment to giving Chuck Feeney’s commitment to giving while living.”

However, you will not find Feeney’s name on any buildings — he has repeatedly refused recognition for his gifts.

“Chuck believes it is the people and the activities in the buildings that count,” Oechsli said.  “Buildings are vehicles for change. They are tools for innovation.”

Oechsli added that Feeney’s donations should serve as an example of the best outlets for personal wealth.

As a limited life foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies will close its doors in 2020, consistent with Feeney’s “giving while living” philosophy.    

“We’re not just about shoveling money out the door, and we’re certainly not on a downward trajectory,” Oechsli said. “We’re seeking to maximize the effect of our grant making, to maximize the impact of what we hope to have, even beyond our presence.”