Chuck Feeney became a billionaire by founding and running Duty Free Shoppers, and since he collected his unimaginable wealth he made it a point to give it all away. This month it has been revealed that Feeney successfully gave away billions of dollars to charitable causes and will die an average person like the rest of us. Of course, if there was a wealth tax or similar then he would not have found himself in such an inequitable situation and the money would have been spent democratically. Regardless, it’s good to see that this (now former) billionaire recognized the inequality in our world and did something about it!
Over the last four decades, Feeney has donated more than $8 billion to charities, universities and foundations worldwide through his foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies. When I first met him in 2012, he estimated he had set aside about $2 million for his and his wife’s retirement. In other words, he’s given away 375,000% more money than his current net worth. And he gave it away anonymously. While many wealthy philanthropists enlist an army of publicists to trumpet their donations, Feeney went to great lengths to keep his gifts secret. Because of his clandestine, globe-trotting philanthropy campaign, Forbes called him the James Bond of Philanthropy.