Charles “Chuck” Feeney passed away at 92 on Monday, October 9, 2023.
Feeney was known to be a pioneer of duty-free shops and an investor in start-up companies in tech and gave away almost all of his $8 billion fortune to charity. Feeney’s group of foundations shared the news he began in the early 1980s, Atlantic Philanthropies.
In December of 2016, Charles “Chuck” Feeney Feeney donated $7 billion to his alma mater, Cornell University, and officially drained out his group of foundations’ accounts. Feeney also promised to give away all of his wealth before he passed, which he kept and was found to be rare among philanthropists.
Before completely giving his fortune to charities, Feeney left inheritances to his five children and left $2 million for himself, a significantly small amount compared to the money he has earned over decades in the industry and donated to foundations. He was known to go through great measures to hide his identity by donating massive amounts to charities.
Bill Gates, another billionaire, shared with Forbes in 2012 that “Chuck Feeney is a remarkable role model and the ultimate example of giving while living.” Feeney was awarded the Forbes 400 Lifetime Award in 2014.
Feeney was known to not want to make a fuss about his significant donations. While other philanthropists preferred to have banquets and publicized donations, Charles “Chuck” Feeney chose to give anonymously. Among his various donations, he was known to donate financially to universities, medical institutions, science programs, human rights groups, and more.
Chuck Feeney has been labeled by Forbes as the “James Bond of Philanthropy” for his impeccable donations of over $8 billion to various causes and institutions.
He wanted to show younger philanthropists not to wait to become too old or dead to give their money away. Instead, make significant donations while you are still able. Feeney once told Forbes, “People who have money have an obligation.”
In the year 2020, Charles “Chuck” Feeney fulfilled his goal of giving away the majority of his fortune before he passed. Feeney was known as the philanthropist who pioneered the philosophy of “giving while living.”