Billionaire fulfills lifelong dream – to die broke: Duty Free Shoppers co-founder Chuck Feeney, 89, gives his $8 billion fortune to charity – and says he is happier than ever (but has kept $2m for himself)
Former billionaire co-founder of airport retail giant Duty Free Shoppers has given away all of his massive wealth and is now broke, but insists he couldn’t be happier.
Charles ‘Chuck’ Feeney, 89, raked in billions with the creation of Duty Free Shoppers with Robert Miller but wanted to die without any money.
The philanthropist was famous for his promise to give all his money away to charitable causes, a dream that was fulfilled this year in September after donating more than $8billion to charities, universities, and foundations through his organization Atlantic Philanthropies.
He gave $3.7billion to education, including nearly $1billion to his alma mater Cornell, more than $870million to human rights and social change including $62million in grants to abolish the death penalty in the US and $76million for grassroots campaigns supporting the passage of Obamacare, according to Forbes.
He also gave more than $700million in gifts to health causes ranging from a $270million grant to improve public healthcare in Vietnam to a $176million gift to the Global Brain Health Institute at the University of California, San Francisco.
One of his final gifts was a $350million donation for Cornell to build a technology campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island.
‘Chuck was a cornerstone in terms of inspiration for the Giving Pledge,’ Warren Buffett said.
‘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.’
‘Chuck created a path for other philanthropists to follow.
I remember meeting him before starting the Giving Pledge.
He told me we should encourage people not to give just 50 percent but as much as possible during their lifetime.
No one is a better example of that than Chuck.
Many people talk to me about how he inspired them. It is truly amazing,’ Bill Gates said.
He kept aside $2million for his and his wife’s retirement.