Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Atlantic Philanthropies, A Small Part Of The U.S. Elite Foundation World, Decides To Invest Socially Its Entrusted Wealth Rather Than Hoard It

A nonprofit goes for broke

"Growth is the byword for success at many organizations, but not for the Atlantic Philanthropies, a $3.8 billion foundation that has decided to give away its endowment and shutter its operations by 2020.

By spending down the endowment quickly instead of using it as a war chest to finance perpetual philanthropy, Atlantic expects to achieve superior social returns.

The organizational challenges stemming from the decision proved daunting and ultimately affected everything from Atlantic's choice of grantees to the kinds of people it employs.

Atlantic's story offers strategic, operational, and organizational lessons for any foundation or comparable institution that is considering transformative change.

This article contains the following exhibits:

Exhibit 1: The Atlantic Philanthropies disburses funds through four programs in seven countries.

Exhibit 2: Atlantic has changed in numerous areas — from where and how it gives its money to the ways it manages and motivates its people.

Exhibit 3: To accommodate the need for operational support and personnel to evaluate the effectiveness of grants, Atlantic increased its staff by 22 percent from 2001 to 2005."

Source: The McKinsey Quarterly November 8, 2006 Edition

The Atlantic Philanthropies

The Da Nang Eye Hospital is working to provide improved eye care and disease prevention for 11 million people in eight provinces in Viet Nam.

Photo credit: The Atlantic Philanthropies. With thanks.


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