- It took Charles Feeney through his Atlantic Philanthropies foundation 4 decades to dispose off more than $8 billion
- Majority of the donation went to education at $3.7 billion
- Charles Feeney is the recipient of the 2014 Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy
It may have taken Charles Feeney 4 decades to realize his dream but the 89-year-old is happy he has accomplished it in his watch. His dream and goal were to give away his more than $8 billion fortune and just retain a small amount for himself.
He said, “I see little reason to delay giving when so much good can be achieved through supporting worthwhile causes today.
He added, “The world is so full of people who have less than they need. Each time you can address their problem, you help them to move forward and think that life can change, and I can change it.”
What is even more amazing is that Feeney has donated it all anonymously through the aid of his foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies. According to the foundation’s website, using his wealth for the greater good of others was an obligation for Feeney.
Forbes noted that whenever Feeney gave, he tried to keep it secret and no hint of any publicity. This led to one instance where Cornell’s president had to convince its board of trustees that the donation did not come from “Mafia money”.
According to the magazine, here’s a rundown of where Feeney’s fortune went:
- $3.7billion to education
- $870 million to social campaigns and human rights
- $62 million in grants to end death penalty
- $76 million to Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
- $350 million to build a technology campus at his alma mater, Cornell University
Feeney officially closed down Atlantic Philanthropies after donating almost all of his fortune. “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.”
He added, “My thanks to all who joined us on this journey. And to those wondering about Giving While Living: Try it, you’ll like it.”
Warren Buffet once referred to Feeney as a “hero” when he was asked to present 2014’s Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy to Feeney. Buffet said, “Chuck has set an example. It’s a real honor to talk about a fellow who is my hero and Bill Gates’ hero. He should be everybody’s hero.”
Helping people is what makes Feeney happy, according to Forbes 2012 article, “The Billionaire Who Is Trying To Go Broke.
Feeney said, “I concluded that if you hung on to a piece of the action for yourself, you’d always be worrying about that piece. People used to ask me how I got my jollies, and I guess I’m happy when what I’m doing is helping people and unhappy when what I’m doing isn’t helping people.”