Lessons from Atlantic Philanthropies

 

Sir, – It was appropriate that The Irish Times marked the closure of the Dublin Office of the Atlantic Philanthropies last week with almost a full page of coverage of its work and of its founder, Chuck Feeney (Simon Carswell, “Atlantic quietly closes its doors in Ireland after 30 years of philanthropy”; Conor O’Clery, “The billionaire who gave it all away”, March 3rd).

The level of funding that has been provided to Ireland over the years must surely make the Atlantic Philanthropies one of the most significant sources of “foreign direct investment” into Ireland.

There is much to learn from the strategic approach to social investment taken by the Atlantic Philanthropies, and it can only be hoped that Government has been giving some thought as to how future social investment can be attracted to assist in the ongoing development of social infrastructure and tackle otherwise difficult to fund issues. By ensuring co-funding from the State to promote future sustainability of initiatives related to end-of life care in hospitals, dementia, and support and advocacy services for vulnerable adults and older people, to mention just three examples with which I am familiar, the Atlantic Philanthropies challenged government departments and State agencies to engage in new and more creative approaches to important issues. That not all initiatives have been sustained following the ending of Atlantic funding should not take from the fact that much good has been done through the changing of agendas, priorities, attitudes and practices. Such is the stuff of public sector reform, and it would be useful to hear from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform what plans he has to harness social investment to assist in the future development of supports and services for the public. – Yours, etc,

MERVYN TAYLOR,

Executive Director,

Sage – Support

& Advocacy Service,

Ormond Quay Upper,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – God bless you, Chuck Feeney, and thank you! – Yours, etc,

BRENDA MORGAN,

Howth, Co Dublin.