For years, billionaire Charles Feeney had one goal in mind — to give away his massive fortune and live the rest of his life “broke.” Now, the 89-year-old has fulfilled his wish.
For those unfamiliar with the name like I was, Charles Feeney is not the teacher from Boy Meets World (That’s George Feeny), he’s the man who founded Duty Free Shoppers, the famous airport store.
According to Forbes, Feeney has finished giving away more than $8 billion in anonymous donations through his foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies. It took him over four decades to accomplish this task. Forbes says that Feeney gave some $3.7 billion to education, quite a bit of that to his alma matter, Cornell University, including a $350 million dollar contribution to build a technology campus in New York. He’s also given $62 million in grants to end the death penalty in the US, $76 million to support the Affordable Care Act, and more than $870 million to human rights and social change campaigns.
Now that he has given away all but $2 million dollars which he intends to hold on to for now; Feeney has officially closed down Atlantic Philanthropies just this week.
“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,” Feeney said. “My thanks to all who joined us on this journey,” he added. “And to those wondering about Giving While Living: Try it, you’ll like it.”
Feeney has spoken about his donations before, in a 2012 Forbes article titled “The Billionaire Who Is Trying To Go Broke,” he has said “I concluded that if you hung on to a piece of the action for yourself you’d always be worrying about that piece,” said Feeney. “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.” Its true that you don’t have to be a billionaire to help people. You don’t have to give millions or billions to change a life. Previous Good News Stories have shown many who had little who helped in big ways.
In 2014, billionaire Warren Buffet honored Feeney during an awards ceremony where he referred to him as a “hero.” “Chuck has set an example,” Buffett said while presenting Feeney with that year’s Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy. “It’s a real honor to talk about a fellow who is my hero and Bill Gates’ hero. He should be everybody’s hero.”
“I see little reason to delay giving when so much good can be achieved through supporting worthwhile causes today,” he said.
“The world is so full of people who have less than they need,” Feeney continued. “Each time you can address their problem, you help them to move forward and think that life can change, and I can change it.”
Matthew 19:24 “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
Story and Image from People.