The Atlantic Fellows comprise six large fellowship programs and the Atlantic Institute, a service and community development organization. Each fellowship is aimed at empowering a new generation of leaders and change-makers to advance fairer, healthier, more inclusive, and more equitable societies around the world. Fellows are typically early- to mid-career professionals from a range of backgrounds, disciplines, and life experiences. Through the global, interconnected set of fellowship programs, fellows collaborate across disciplines and borders to understand and address the root causes of pressing global problems. These include socioeconomic and racial inequality; barriers to full participation in democracy; and the social determinants of health and access to quality care. Each of the programs is distinct and grounded in its local context. This fellowship network is designed to secure the legacy of the Atlantic Philanthropies—which made its last grant commitments in 2016 and will close its doors by 2020—in the issue areas and geographies that were its traditional spheres of work.
The Atlantic Philanthropies understands that a system of strategic learning and evaluation designed to guide and support the institutions selected for its “big bet” fellowships is essential to ensure that its investments contribute to a learning legacy and make substantial and sustainable impacts. To that end, the Atlantic Fellows programs are initially in a three-year incubation period, during which outside strategic learning and evaluation partners work closely with the fellowship host programs. Once the incubation period is over, the Atlantic Philanthropies will decide whether or not to continue funding the fellowships on a case-by-case basis. The SSRC is serving as the primary learning and evaluation partner for the incubation periods of four of the six programs, providing each fellowship with developmental support, ongoing formative evaluations aimed at improving the structure and organization of the fellowship host institution, and a long-term strategic learning and assessment plan. The Council will also provide a summative evaluation to Atlantic at the end of the incubation period that will be considered as one of the inputs in the final decision regarding future funding.
The four programs with which the SSRC is partnering are the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity, the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health, the Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity in Southeast Asia, and the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity. In addition to these four programs for which the SSRC is taking on the role of lead evaluator, the SSRC is coordinating learning and evaluation processes and partners across all six fellowship programs.