Charles ‘Chuck’ Feeney, the American cofounder of airport retailer Duty Free Shoppers, has officially given all of his money away to charity, and with it dissolved his foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies. During his career, Feeney made it his mission to donate everything – which amounted to more than $8 billion – a philosophy that inspired Bill Gates and Warren Buffett when they launched the Giving Pledge.
‘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’, Feeney said in 2019.
Feeney’s philanthropy was both wide-ranging and very private, including $270 million in grants to improve public healthcare in Vietnam, $62 million to causes working to abolish the death penalty in the U.S., and $76 million for grassroots campaigns supporting the passage of Obamacare. According to a Forbes article about his philanthropy, Feeney didn’t want to ‘grant gifts after death or set up a legacy fund that annually tosses pennies at a $10 problem. He hunted for causes where he [could] have a dramatic impact and went all-in.’
His foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies, officially shut earlier this week – a closure date that was set years ago as part of a long-term plan to make high-risk, high-impact donations on a basis that gave urgency and discipline to the mission.
Speaking to Forbes about Feeney, Gates said: ‘Chuck created a path for other philanthropists to follow. I remember meeting him before starting the Giving Pledge. He told me we should encourage people not to give just 50 per cent, but as much as possible during their lifetime. No one is a better example of that than Chuck. Many people talk to me about how he inspired them. It is truly amazing.’