Chuck Feeney made a fortune doing duty-free shopping in airports.
Over the past 60 years, he has earned over $ 8 billion from his business – Duty Free Shoppers.
But today he has maybe two million dollars left.
Chuck is now 89 years old. And he knows that no matter how much money you have, you cannot take it with you. So Chuck decided to give away as much of his fortune as possible.
Since 1980, Chuck has donated more than $ 8 billion to charities, universities and other philanthropic foundations around the world. He has donated to everything from an organization trying to restore political and religious divisions in Northern Ireland and a group trying to modernize the Vietnamese health system.
And, unlike many major financial donors, he has taken it easy, with little fanfare.
Conor O’Clery’s new book, The Billionaire Who Wasn’t: How Chuck Feeney Secretly Made and Gave Away a Fortune, reveals Chuck’s amazing story for the first time.
Even Chuck’s own charity, Atlantic Philanthropies, had a built-in sell-by date to make sure it gave its money away and didn’t turn into a long-term proposition. It closed in September.
He says, “Our giving is based on the opportunity, not a plan to stay in business for a long time.”
Chuck has only recently revealed the staggering size of his charitable donations. Forbes magazine calculates that he has given away 375,000% more than his current net worth.
It has inspired other wealthy individuals to follow suit. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett launched their Giving Pledge organization in 2010 after hearing about Chuck’s incredible generosity.
The Giving Pledge tries to convince the richest people in the world to give away at least half of their fortunes before they die. Warren Buffett says, “Chuck was a cornerstone in terms of inspiration for the Giving Pledge.
‘He is a model for all of us. It takes me 12 years after my death to get what he does in his lifetime. “
Bill Gates, who himself runs the $ 46 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest charity, says, “Chuck has created a path for other philanthropists to follow.
‘I remember meeting him before starting the Giving Pledge. He told me to encourage people to give not just 50%, but as much as possible during their lifetime.
“No one is a better example of this than Chuck. Many people tell me how he inspired them. It is truly amazing. “