June 10, 2016

Atlantic Philanthropies Donates Over $16 Million to Study of Inequality, Capital Punishment, Cornell Welcome Center

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The Atlantic Philanthropies — a foundation created by Charles Feeney ’56 — has announced it will donate $16.25 million in grants to the Center for the Study of Inequality, the International Center on Capital Punishment and a new University welcome center.

These three grants are the latest in a series of donations from Atlantic Philanthropies that has totaled almost $1 billion dollars overall, according to the University.

“Cornell is fortunate to have had The Atlantic Philanthropies as an ally for more than three decades,” said Interim President Hunter Rawlings in a release. “Atlantic’s new awards advance initiatives that are tremendously important to Cornell, our faculty and our students. We are especially grateful to the foundation for partnering with us to further efforts that will combat inequality and promote human rights on a global scale.”

Of the $16.25 million donated, $10 million will is earmarked for the CSI in one of the largest donations to the social sciences at Cornell, according to the release. The grant aims to expand the center’s staff and increase the center’s impact through promotion of faculty fellowships, a seed grant program, conferences and a visiting speaker series.

The law school will receive $3.25 million to establish the Cornell International Center on Capital Punishment — a group that aims to bolster advocacy and research, and build relationships with national and international organizations. The gift will support a summer training program for capital defense lawyers from regions of the world where death-row populations are greatest, according to the release.

“Capital punishment has emerged as one of the most important human rights issues in the 21st century, and I am immensely pleased that Atlantic has recognized our faculty’s leading role in this debate,” said Eduardo Peñalver ’94, the dean of Cornell Law School, in the release.

The three million dollars allocated to the creation of a welcome center comes in the form of a “challenge grant,” requiring an additional three million dollars of fundraising to complete the project. The welcome center will be in a “repurposed and renovated” Noyes Lodge, and will include a reception, information and waiting area, according to the release. One of the largest rooms will have an exhibit that celebrates Cornell’s history, mission and values.

“Chuck Feeney — along with many of his classmates in the Class of ’56 who are celebrating their 60th Cornell Reunion this year — has long recognized the need for a university welcome center,” Rawlings said. “Thanks to this challenge grant and the additional support it will inspire, we can create a fitting place to give our guests a warm welcome, provide them with the information they need, and introduce them to the people, places and ideas that give Cornell its special character.”