Atlantic Philanthropies Commits $40.5 Million in Northern Ireland

Atlantic Philanthropies Commits $40.5 Million in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive has announced a £24.7 million ($40.5 million) contribution from Atlantic Philanthropies in support of education, human services, and healthcare initiatives.

The commitment will help support a £58.5 million ($96 million) effort led by Northern Ireland's Department of Health, Social Services, and Public Safety and Department of Education to expand shared education opportunities for Catholic and Protestant children, deliver improved services for parents who are facing difficulties, and provide support for people living with dementia and their caregivers.

Atlantic has funded a shared education program in County Fermanagh for the last five years and hopes it will become the norm, "rather than the exception," for Protestant and Catholic children in Northern Ireland to be educated together, the BBC reports. In August, the foundation awarded grants totaling €14.7 million ($19.67 million) to help improve the care and well-being of people in Ireland suffering from dementia.

"Undoubtedly, the work that Atlantic Philanthropies has done to tackle division and social exclusion has done much to further our efforts to create an equal and fair society in Northern Ireland," said First Minister Peter D. Robinson.

"This joint initiative between philanthropy and government will build on the best of what we have learned to date in delivering real change to improve children's outcomes, deliver shared education, and transform dementia care," said Padraic Quirk, Atlantic Philanthropies' country director for Northern Ireland.

"Robinson and McGuinness Announce £58 Million Investment." Northern Ireland Executive Press Release 09/17/2014. "Chuck Feeney Donates Almost £25M to NI Education and Health." BBC 09/17/2014.