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Billionaire Gives $8,000,000,000 Fortune Away After Pledging To Die Broke

Amelia Ward


Billionaire Gives $8,000,000,000 Fortune Away After Pledging To Die Broke

Featured Image Credit: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

A former billionaire has fulfilled his lifelong ambition of giving away his $8billion fortune, having pledged to die broke.

Charles 'Chuck' Feeney, 89, is the co-founder of airport retail company Duty Free Shoppers and after giving away all his money, he says he couldn't be happier.

He created the company in 1960 with a friend, but his motivation was to give his money to charitable causes - and that he did. The philanthropist succeeded by giving $8billion to charities, universities and foundations.

He founded an organisation called Atlantic Philanthropies. According to its website, it 'focuses its giving on health, social, and politically liberal public policy causes in Australia, Bermuda, Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam'.

Chuck Feeney with wife Helga Feeney. Credit: THE ATLANTIC PHILANTHROPIES
Chuck Feeney with wife Helga Feeney. Credit: THE ATLANTIC PHILANTHROPIES

Irish-American Feeney kept it on the downlow though, choosing to give most of his money away anonymously. He is known as the 'James Bond of Philanthropy'.

Atlantic Philanthropies was founded in 1984 and it has helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland, as well as modernise the health care system in Vietnam.

Speaking to Forbes, Feeney said: "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. My thanks to all who joined us on this journey. And to those wondering about Giving While Living: Try it, you'll like it."

On his website last year, he was quoted as saying: "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."

In a letter to Bill Gates, with who he had just had a meeting to discuss philanthropy and the strategy behind it, he also said: "The process of - and most importantly, the results from - granting this wealth to good causes has been a rich source of joy and satisfaction to me and for my family...The challenges, even setbacks, I have experienced in my decades of personal engagement in philanthropy pale in comparison to the impact and deep personal satisfaction."

Fellow philanthropist, Warren Buffet says: "Chuck was a cornerstone in terms of inspiration for the Giving Pledge. He's a model for us all. It's going to take me 12 years after my death to get done what he's doing within his lifetime."

Topics: US News

Amelia Ward
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