Source - The former billionaire co-founder of airport retail giant Duty Free Shoppers has given away his massive wealth to charity and is now broke, but insists he couldn't be happier.
Charles 'Chuck' Feeney, 89, raked in billions with the creation of Duty Free Shoppers with Robert Miller in 1960.
But the philanthropist was famous for his promise to give all his money away to charitable causes, a dream that was fulfilled this year in September after donating more than $8billion to charities, universities, and foundations through his organization Atlantic Philanthropies.
He gave $3.7billion to education – including nearly $1billion to his alma mater Cornell, more than $870million to human rights and social change including $62million in grants to abolish the death penalty in the US and $76million for grassroots campaigns supporting the passage of Obamacare, according to Forbes.
He also gave more than $700million in gifts to health causes ranging from a $270million grant to improve public healthcare in Vietnam to a $176million gift to the Global Brain Health Institute at the University of California, San Francisco.
One of his final gifts was a $350million donation for Cornell to build a technology campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island.
I can't honestly say, without a doubt, that Chuck Feeney is the dumbest billionaire to ever walk the face of the earth. I mean what are you DOING Chuck! You're supposed to give it away after you die you buffoon, not before. He says he's "happier now than he's ever been", but I can't imagine that's true. He's just an old guy who wanted to feel like a regular person for the last bit of his life. Which for his sake I hope it short because let me tell you, there is nothing fun about not being rich. Don't get me wrong it's fine, but I have rich friends and their life is infinitely better than mine. Private jets, multiple homes, no air-sandwhiches. It's incredible.
Here's why Feeney gave away the money in the first place...
Feeney pioneered the idea of Giving While Living, the idea to spend fortunes on big charitable donations during one's lifetime instead of creating a foundation upon death.
'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 said to Forbes.
'My thank to all who joined us on this journey. And to those wondering bout Giving While Living: try it, you’ll like it.' Feeney isn’t one to boast and gave much of his money away anonymously, giving way to the nickname the 'James Bond of Philanthropy'.
Through Atlantic Philanthropies, which he founded in 1984, he’s given to efforts to bring peace to Northern Ireland, modernized Vietnam’s health care system, and focused on expanding education.
'I see little reason to delay giving when so much good can be achieved through supporting worthwhile causes. Besides, it's a lot more fun to give while you live than give while you're dead,' he said last year.
On September 14, 2020 Feeney completed his four-decade mission and signed the documents to dissolve Atlantic Philanthropies. Atlantic Philanthropies, at the height of its work, had more than 300 employees and 10 global offices working across seven times zones.
Alright that's actually pretty cool. Good on you, Chuck. You're a better man than I am. I can't even imagine how many people his donations have impacted over the years. I'm sure everyone one of them is incredibly grateful for everything Mr. Feeney has done.