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November 03, 2014

Atlantic Philanthropies Enters Final Chapter

Christopher G. Oechsli, chief executive of the Atlantic Philanthropies, spoke to The New York Times about the foundation’s end-game strategy as it aims to exhaust its funds by 2016. Its plans include consulting with grantees to help them continue their work after the foundation closes, along with a plan to lay off employees every six months and to offer generous severance packages. To preserve its legacy, the foundation is publishing a catalog of its successes as well as its biggest mistakes so that other foundations can learn by example.

Established by Chuck Feeney, founder of the Duty Free Shopping Group, the Atlantic Philanthropies operated in near-anonymity for most of its 32 years. Mr. Feeney blazed a trail for Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and other philanthropists by setting a precedent for using his wealth to help people and to spend down the funds in his lifetime. Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffett now aspire to follow this model.

Mr. Feeney is now 83. To date, his foundation has given away $6.5-billion.