The Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the biggest private philanthropic foundations in the world, is named after him. Feeney spent several years giving out his riches in secrecy, but in 1997 his identity was made public due to a business disagreement. Over $8 billion has been donated by Feeney.
Feeney was raised in a modest upbringing by blue-collar Irish-American parents in Elizabeth, New Jersey, during the Great Depression. County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland is where his ancestors originated. From Elizabeth’s St., Feeney graduated.
He graduated from St. Mary of Assumption High School in 1949 and attributes his humanitarian nature to his education there. His $250,000 pledge in 2016 was the greatest single gift received by the institution.
Charles Francis Feeney is an Irish-American entrepreneur and philanthropist who built his fortune as a co-founder of the Duty-Free Shoppers Group, situated in Hong Kong.
During the Korean War, he worked as a radio operator for the U.S. Air Force. In the 1950s, he started his business selling duty-free alcohol to American sailors in Mediterranean ports.
His education ended with a degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. He was a Sphinx Head Society honorary member as well as a member of Alpha Sigma Phi.
Net Worth of Chuck Feeney
Chuck Feeney has a $1.5 million net worth. Chuck Feeney is unquestionably one of the most influential people in contemporary history. Chuck Feeney had a net worth of over $8 billion at his height.
He gave away substantial sums of his riches covertly for many years. A commercial conflict in 1997 led to the disclosure of his charitable activities. Chuck’s giving ideals gained more exposure after his name was made known.
As the “billionaire who wanted to die broke,” he rose to fame on a global scale. The “James Bond of philanthropy” is another way to define him.
Chunk Feeney was living in a rented apartment in San Francisco in 2016 after donating all but about $2 million of his former multi-billion dollar fortune.
Chuck wore a $10 Casio watch, took coach flights for the majority of his career, and didn’t own a car.
Work History of Chuck Feeney
In the beginning, Feeney and his friend and fellow student Robert Warren Miller sold duty-free alcohol to the American troops. With the growth of their business, they started selling cigarettes and cars.
In 1960, they founded their first business, the Duty-Free Shoppers Group (DFS). DFS kept growing, turning a profit of more than $300 million by the 1990s.
When Feeney and a fellow partner sold their stake to Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) in 1996, they were shocked to learn that Feeney’s share was actually owned by Atlantic Philanthropies, which made $1.63 billion from the deal.
A Philanthropist in The Dark
Chuck surreptitiously transferred all of his commercial holdings in 1984, including his 39% stake in DFS, to an organization he founded called Atlantic Philanthropies.
Chuck started donating millions of dollars through the foundation without ever requesting reimbursement. In reality, he preferred to stay totally unidentified.
Chuck’s identity was made public as a result of the sale of DFS to LVMH. Robert Warren Miller, Chuck’s longstanding partner, opposed the transaction. Chuck didn’t have the authority to arrange the transaction, according to Miller, who filed a lawsuit to stop it on the grounds that he didn’t genuinely control DFS.
Its true owner was Atlantic Philanthropies. Feeney’s identity as the person who had been covertly contributing substantial quantities of money to numerous groups was made public by the lawsuit.
Atlantic Philanthropies wasn’t simply a gift machine; it was also an investment fund that would buy early holdings in rapidly appreciating tech businesses like Priceline, E-Trade, and Facebook.
More than $1 billion has been donated by Feeney to Cornell University, his alma mater. He donated $350 million to create Cornell’s Roosevelt Island New York City Tech Campus. The road that runs through the heart of the campus, formerly known as East Avenue, was renamed Feeney Way by Cornell in December 2020.
He gave more than $1 billion to Irish educational causes. To support numerous social and human rights projects, he donated over $900 million. His contributions to health-related causes totaled over $700 million, including a $270 million gift to Vietnam’s healthcare system.
Atlantic Philanthropies had more than 300 employees working in 10 offices throughout the world at its height of giving.
Chuck ended up donating more than $8 billion. After completing its goal of distributing Chuck’s entire fortune, Atlantic Philanthropies was shut down in September 2020.
Accomplishments & Awards
Feeney has won various awards and distinctions over his career. James Bond of Philanthropy was given to him because of his ability to disguise his accomplishments.
He was described as “the noblest man living in America” by Tines. He was given the 2010 Cornell Icon of Industry Award. He was given honorary doctorates by Irish universities. For his achievements at the university, he was also given a UCSF medal.
Feeney has married twice. Frenchwoman Danielle was his first wife. Patrick A. Feeney is the only son; the couple also has four daughters, Juliette M. Feeney-Timsit, Caroleen A. Feeney, Diane V. Feeney, and Leslie D. Feeney-Baily. Helga, his second spouse, was once his secretary.
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