The Atlantic Philanthropies: An Overview

The Gerontological Society of America's "Civic Engagement in an Older America" project is funded through a generous grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies. This webpage provides an overview of The Atlantic Philanthropies, as well as the other projects on older adults' civic engagement that the organization supports. This information is presented under the following subheadings:

* What is The Atlantic Philanthropies?

* How does The Atlantic Philanthropies support efforts to promote civic engagement in later life?


What is The Atlantic Philanthropies?

The Atlantic Philanthropies is a private organization with the stated mission “to bring about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people.” Through its multi-billion-dollar endowment, the Philanthropies provide funding for research, programs, and initiatives in each of the following areas:

- Older adults and aging
- Disadvantaged children and youth programming
- Population health
- Reconciliation and human rights

Charles F. Feeney, the co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers Group, Ltd. (DFS), established The Atlantic Foundation, the first of The Atlantic Philanthropies in 1982. The foundation provided grants on an anonymous basis until 2001, at which time the Board decided to identify projects supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies so as to increase the organization’s effectiveness, transparency, and accountability. Today The Atlantic Philanthropies consists of seven charities and eight service companies, and the organization services seven geographic areas, including Australia, Bermuda, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the U.S., and Vietnam. Headquarters for The Atlantic Philanthropies are in Bermuda.

Demonstrating the organization’s “giving while living” philosophy, the organization intends to spend down its endorsement by the year 2020. Atlantic Philanthropies program staff members seek out organizations whose activities serve the organization’s mission. Program staff asks organizations to apply for a grant instead of accepting unsolicited applications.


How does the Atlantic Philanthropies support efforts to promote civic engagement in later life?

The Atlantic Philanthropies has provided millions of dollars to assist major organizations engaging in projects on older adults’ civic engagement. The information below, which mostly has been pulled from the Atlantic Philanthropies’ “Grant Summaries” webpage, highlights these projects in alphabetical order by the lead organization’s name:

* American Health Initiative, Ltd., "Increasing Civic Engagement of Third Age Professionals"
To meet the critical needs of Free Clinics in the United States by engaging retired health professionals to care for the uninsured.

* American Society on Aging, "Infusing Civic Engagement in the Field of Aging"
To support activities that further develop the field of civic engagement among gerontological practitioners in the US.

* Bermuda Red Cross, "U.S. Ageing Study Tour"
To increase awareness of transportation and civic engagement models for older adults by supporting an educational visit of key Bermudian and Irish NGO staff to the US.

* Boston College, "Work Opportunities for Older Americans"
To provide support to the Center for Retirement Research for assessing barriers to and opportunities for older adults' continued employment, and for disseminating the results of the research.

* Civic Ventures, "The Civic Engagement Awards Program"
To support the 'Purpose-in-Retirement' Prize for social innovators in the US who are 60 years of age and older.

* Civic Ventures, "The Role of Older Americans in National Service"
To provide support to enhance understanding about the potential role of older Americans in national service, and to educate and inform key policymakers.

* Civic Ventures, "Experience Corps – Going to Scale"
To help Experience Corps go to scale as the flagship of service by older adults.

* Civic Ventures, "Experience Corps – Building the Field of Service by Older Americans"
To maintain Experience Corps, a program where older adults serve as tutors and mentors to children in American urban public schools, by supporting core operations and infrastructure.

* Community Planning and Research, LLC, "Community Experience Partnership"
To work in close collaboration with community foundations to develop and implement strategies to utilize older adults in addressing a community need.

* The Conference Board, "Managing a Mature Work Force"
To increase employers' awareness of barriers and opportunities regarding older workers.

* The Conference Board, "Managing A Mature Workforce"
To provide support for the 'Managing a Mature Workforce' research symposium that was held in Chicago in September, 2002.

* The Conference Board, "Inclusion of Maturing Workers in the Corporate and Not-for-Profit Sectors"
To increase older adults' inclusion in the workplace in the United States by assessing the benefits and costs of employing older workers and then educating key employers about that cost benefit analysis.

* Engage with Age, "Consortium Project Review"
To evaluate as a model this consortium project in Northern Ireland to empower older adults to address health and well-being issues by establishing potential criteria, costs, and partners for replication.

* George Washington University - Center on Aging, Health & Humanities, "SEA Change Project-Promoting Civic Engagement in Later Life"
To provide support for a one-year planning effort to identify and plan projects promoting civic engagement in later life targeted to youth.

* The Gerontological Society of America, "Civic Engagement in an Older America"
To support activities that further develop the field of civic engagement among gerontological researchers, practitioners and policy makers in the United States.

* Grantmakers in Aging, "Community EngAGEment Initiative"
To support a pilot program in the United States designed to attract community and family foundations and individual donors to philanthropy in aging.

* Leadership Network, "Halftime – Pilot Project for Civic Engagement among Older Adults"
To increase older adults' civic engagement by developing and disseminating a recruitment method targeted to church leaders.

* M+R Strategic Services, "Older Americans Civic Engagement Project"
To launch a campaign that brings together stakeholders with interests in the employment, volunteerism, and lifelong learning of older Americans and to launch a campaign that captures policymakers’ attention.

* The National Council on Aging, "Civic Engagement"
To support increased awareness, understanding and action in the voluntary sector, and among policymakers, journalists, and community leaders for lifting barriers to civic engagement by older adults, and bring about changes in programs and policy.

* National Governors Center for Best Practices, "Policy Changes to Improve the Civic Engagement of Seniors"
To improve opportunities to actively participate in society for older adults in the United States by working with state governors.

* New America Foundation, "Productive Aging in the 21st Century"
To provide support for Phillip Longman's book Wising Up: The Promise and Peril of Global Aging on productive aging.

* Operation ABLE of Michigan, "Older Workers in Direct Care – A Labor Force Expansion Study"
To provide support for an applied research project to assess how willing low-income older adults are to work as direct-care workers and the strategies useful in recruiting, training, and supporting them.

* Public Interest Projects, "Promoting Civic Engagement Policies"
To remove barriers to older adults' volunteerism, employment and lifelong learning by supporting a coordinated public policy campaign in the United States.

* The San Francisco Foundation Community Initiative Funds, "Older Adult/Community Civic Engagement Project"
To identify the ways in which older adults are contributing to the well-being of communities in the United States by assisting local community foundations' leadership of community audits.

* The Urban Institute, "Engagement of Older Americans – Current and Potential Contributions"
To provide support for a study to create a baseline which documents older adults' current civic engagement practices, and barriers to and enablers of greater engagement.

* Visiting Nurse Service of New York, "AdvantAge Initiative - Community Efforts to Engage Seniors Survey"
To provide support to conduct a national survey that will provide insight into how well communities in the U.S. can better engage and serve their older residents.

* Visiting Nurse Service of New York, "Strategic Plan for The National AdvantAge Initiative"
To provide support for a strategic plan to expand the AdvantAge Initiative nationally.

* Volunteers of America, Inc., "National Retiree Volunteer Coalition"
To support the National Retiree Volunteer Coalition for a research and pilot initiative to assess opportunities for corporate retiree programs in disadvantaged communities.

* Washington University in St. Louis, "Investigating the Impact of Experience Corps"
To assess the benefits of the Experience Corps program in the United States by conducting a multi-state evaluation.

* WHYY, Inc., "Been There/Done That"
To support the production of the national weekly radio program "Been There/Done That" to foster social engagement and lifelong learning among older adults.