Charles Feeney “Chuck” Feeney, 89, co-created airport retailer Duty-Free Shoppers with Robert Miller in 1960, complied billions while living a life of saintlike penny-pinching. Being a philanthropist, he initiated the idea of Giving While Living by disbursing most of his fortune on big, hands-on charity. Instead of funding an organization after death, one can give it away for a better cause. As one can’t take wealth with oneself, why not give it all away. And have a grasp of where it goes and see the fruits with one’s own eyes.
As Per The Interview With Forbes
“We learned a lot. We would do some things differently, but I am very satisfied. I feel very good about completing this on my watch,” Feeney tells Forbes. “My thanks to all who joined us on this journey. And to those wondering about Giving While Living: Try it, you’ll like it.”
Over the past four decades, through his foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies, Feeney gave away more than $8 billion to charities, universities, and foundations worldwide. In 2012, he estimated he had given away about $2 million from his and his wife’s retirement.
Specifically, he’s given away 375,000% more money than his current net worth. Additionally, he gave it away anonymously. On the other hand, a lot of wealthy philanthropists has an army of publicists to blow the trumpet about their donations, Feeney went to great lengths to keep his gifts secret. Because of his clandestine, globe-trotting philanthropy campaign, Forbes called him the James Bond Of Philanthropy.
Feeney – A Man With A Heart Of Gold
Charles Feeney, maintaining a low-key but impactful life. This is no longer a secret, his extreme charity and big-bet grants have won over the most influential entrepreneurs and philanthropists. His profound generosity and bold financing that influenced Bill Gates and Warren Buffett when they launched the Giving Pledge in 2010.
An ambitious campaign to persuade the world’s wealthiest to contribute at least half their fortunes before their deaths.
He didn’t waste any time to grant gifts after death or set up a legacy fund that yearly gave pennies at a minor cause. He looked for causes where he can have a powerful impact and gave all-in.
Where Did He Spend $8 Billion?
Charles Feeney gave $3.7 billion to education, involving nearly $1 billion to his alma mater, Cornell, which he attended on the G.I. Bill. More than $870 million went to human rights and social change, like $62 million in grants to abolish the death penalty in the U.S. and $76 million for grassroots campaigns supporting the passage of Obamacare. He gave more than $700 million in gifts to health ranging from a $270 million grant to improve public healthcare in Vietnam to a $176 million gift to the Global Brain Health Institute at the University of California, San Francisco.
One of Feeney’s final gifts, $350 million for Cornell to build a technology campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, is a classic example of his giving philosophy.