Atlantic Philanthropies Oral History Project
Maurice Ivy Dowell
The Columbia Center for Oral History Research [CCOHR] at INCITE was awarded a grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies in January 2014 to conduct the second phase of an oral history to provide a lasting and comprehensive record of the altruistic initiatives of the Atlantic Philanthropies and Mr. Charles F. (Chuck) Feeney, founding chairman. From 2005-2008, CCOHR, then known as the Oral History Research Office, conducted the first phase of this project and gathered 560 hours of testimony with 138 unique narrators. Phase I of the project began in 2005 and concluded in 2008.
The purpose of Phase II of the Atlantic Philanthropies Oral History Project was to document the final phase of Atlantic’s existence, picking up where we left off in Phase I, in 2008, and trace the changes of Atlantic’s giving in new program areas and with new institutions and partners, with particular emphasis on how accelerated impact could be leveraged globally in its final phases of grantmaking. Consequently, the focus of the oral history team in Phase II was to focus on the impact of Atlantic’s work, with a greater emphasis on analytical questions and framing and a smaller focus on individual personalities and leaders, with the exception of a consistent focus on the legacy of Charles F. Feeney on both individuals and institutions. Inevitably, because of the dynamics created by closing down the foundation and the necessary institutional steps that had to be taken internally and externally to phase out Atlantic’s existence, Phase II of the Project covered the difficulties of engineering a spend down plan that involved unexpected challenges.
Phase II ran from June 2014 to December 2016, with the interviewing team completing 142 oral history sessions with 84 narrators totaling 220 recorded hours.