Philanthropy Working with Government - Lessons Learned


Atlantic’s partnership with the NI government represented a new approach for both parties. Atlantic had previously made grants in Northern Ireland that had attracted match funding from Government, but these typically supported the work of non-government organisations. Atlantic had never made grants to a government organisation for work it would deliver itself. Similarly, there was little experience within the NI Government of partnering with an external organisation that would share decision-making authority over its own initiatives. So, while there was some history of joint working between the two partners, the Atlantic/DSC partnership broke new ground and, as might be expected, provided opportunities for learning.

We have extracted the generalisable lessons from the more than 30 evaluations and learning reviews Atlantic commissioned throughout the initiative and from the reflections of Atlantic representatives involved in the partnership programme.

The lessons are drawn from across the partnership experience, and focus on deal-making; programme development; and aspects of programme implementation and governance. Based on these lessons, advice is offered for those interested in influencing or working with government for lasting social change, including philanthropy, academia and other non-government organisations.   

The summary version of the report extracts the key lessons learned.