Alliance magazine: An interview with Christopher Oechsli, president and CEO of the Atlantic Philanthropies


Alliance magazine


Christopher Oechsli

‘Why wait to address the need when you can do it now?’

The Atlantic Philanthropies is due to complete its grantmaking by 2016 and close its doors by 2020. As it comes to the end of its life as a grantmaking foundation, Alliance magazine spoke to president and CEO Christopher Oechsli. He discusses where Atlantic’s priorities will lie for the remainder of its existence; what its influence has been; and his hope that Atlantic’s work inspires others to take a Giving While Living approach to philanthropy.

‘…I think the message of Chuck Feeney and of Atlantic is that there are urgent needs now and you can make a big difference in your lifetime by fully engaging. For high net worth individuals, applying their resources, their experience, their passion to these great needs is a deeply satisfying process and one in which they can achieve results in a short period of time. Our greatest hope is that Atlantic’s work and that of its grantees will reflect that. We are very sensitive to ending well. We want to conclude with that message in mind and we’re concerned that we can maximize the value of our experience in that regard so that people recognize that it’s an effective approach to philanthropy…’

‘…If I were to list a catalogue of ‘greatest hits’ among our themes, I would have to include initiatives in Ireland to strengthen the higher education sector and to strengthen a knowledge economy through funding research and universities. In Vietnam, I think we brought together initiatives in physical infrastructure and influencing health delivery to primary healthcare systems, which is going to have a lasting legacy. But I believe it’s the Giving While Living approach that is the greatest legacy: the example that, with concentrated effort, with discipline and commitment to an issue, you can make a difference sooner rather than later…’   Read more >

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Tagged in: Atlantic philanthropies Foundations

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