Chuck Feeney, the former billionaire co-founder of the airport retail giant Duty Free Shoppers, is now officially broke after he gave away his massive fortune to charity.
The 89-year-old Feeney, who lived a frugal life, donated more than $8 billion to charities, universities and foundations worldwide through his foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies. The Atlantic Philanthropies ceased operations on Wednesday, September 16, when Feeney, the founder, signed the dissolution papers in the presence of his wife, Helga, and Christopher Oechsli, president and CEO of Atlantic, in his San Francisco residence.
With this, Feeney officially achieved his oft-stated ambition to have his last check bounced and his all time motto of “Giving while Living”, which he had pioneered. Feeney’s motto of “Giving while Living” encourages one to spend their fortune on big charitable donations during the lifetime rather than creating a foundation after death.
Feeney, who earned a fortune by selling luxury goods to tourists, himself lives in an apartment that seems like the dorm room of a freshman.
Feeney had always been famous for his promise that he will give away all his money to charitable causes during his lifetime, in fact he was Bill Gates’ Philanthropy role model for the same.
Feeney after he fulfilled his dream on Wednesday insisted that he couldn’t have been happier.
In an interview with Forbes, the former billionaire 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,”
His donations include nearly $1billion to his alma mater Cornell, more than $870million to human rights and social change, more than $700million in gifts for health causes ranging from a $270million grant to improve public healthcare system in Vietnam to a $176million gift to the Global Brain Health Institute at the University of California in San Francisco.
He also donated a $350million to Cornell University to build a technology campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island.
Not boasting about his donations, Feeney further urged other billionaires to take the “Giving while Living” pledge. “Try it, you’ll like it” is the message the former billionaire gives out to other billionaires.
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