Key Points

This article is a case study of Atlantic Philanthropies’ work in Northern Ireland, where it supported three thematic intervention areas: aging; children and young people; and reconciliation and human rights. Atlantic, a limited-life foundation that has been making grants since 1982 in eight countries, will close down by 2020 and is engaged in an exit strategy.

Atlantic’s original funding approach involved supporting key nongovernmental organizations to drive and advocate for change; its work helped to support and consolidate the peace process in that country. Its exit strategy has involved a formal partnership arrangement with the Northern Ireland Assembly to take external interventions to scale and mainstream services previously funded through NGOs.

This article draws on qualitative data gathered through interviews with key stakeholders — the funder, government officials, and NGOs — and considers the consequences of this approach for sustaining and mainstreaming policies and practices. It also offers both specific and general lessons on partnering with government as an exit strategy.

Open Access