Who is Chuck Feeney, an American billionaire and philanthropist who gave away $8 billion during his lifetime?
“I don’t dislike money, but there’s only so much money you can use.”
Chuck Feeney is one of the most successful businessmen in the USA.
He was one of the pioneers of modern-day duty-free shopping (DFS). He started with one shop in Hawaii in 1960, and by 1980 his fortune had amassed to over $8 billion.
For Feeney, money and wealth were a byproduct of success and not the goal. All he wanted was working hard and offering all travelers access to cheaper goods.
Often called the ‘secret billionaire,’ Chuck Feeney felt guilty for having too much money. In 1982, he set up the Atlantic Philanthropies.
After discussing his plan with his wife, they decided to keep only what the family needed and transferred the rest to the foundation. They intended to give it all away anonymously.
He has given around $3.7bn to higher education, including over $1 billion to his former university, Cornell. Feeney also donated over $800 million to human rights groups, and close to $2 billion on different projects in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
But he never cared to tell anyone else what to do with their money.
Chuck believed that if you earned it, you could choose how to spend it. But he inspired other billionaires, most notably Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, to start giving their wealth away.
Bill Gates once said, “Chuck Feeney is a remarkable role model and the ultimate example of giving while living.”
In early September 2020, Chuck Feeney achieved his foundation’s goal of giving away all his money.
Atlantic Philanthropies finally ran out of funds, but Feeney couldn’t be happier. He commented that seeing the results of his donations made it all worthwhile.
Chuck Feeney has helped millions of people with his generosity and strategic investments.
If you had $7 billion, what problem would you want to solve?
Even if you only have $7 today, you can still be creative and share it with someone. It’s not always the amount but the heart behind it that counts.
“It is logical for a U.S. person to give their money away while they are alive, as the government will take it from you when you die in taxes.”