Meet Chuck Feeney: The Billionaire Trying To Go Broke

To the un-trained eye, Chuck Feeney looks like a normal pensioner. However, the 83-year-old has arguably done more for others than 99.9% of people on the planet.

Over the last 30 years, Chuck has travelled the globe trying his hardest to give away a $7.5 billion fortune derived from selling cognac, perfume and cigarettes in his empire of duty-free shops. His foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies, has funneled $6.2 billion into education, science, health care and civil rights in the U.S., Australia, Vietnam, Bermuda, South Africa and Ireland.

Few living people have given away more, and no one with his wealth level has ever given away such a large portion of their fortune during their lifetime. The remaining $1.3 billion will be spent by 2016.

He is now worth a reported $2 million.

So, how exactly do you give away $7.5 billion? This timeline of Chuck's achievements tells the story...

1982: Makes first grant of $7 million to Cornell. Total gifts would go on to reach $937 million.

1984: Transfers his 38.75% DFS ownership to Atlantic Philanthropies.

1988: Gives $142,000 to support the Cancer Research Institute. Worldwide cancer grants would go on to hit $370 million.

1990: Atlantic makes its first grant to University of Limerick to construct advanced research, conference and cultural facilities. Lifetime grants: $170 million.

1991: Funds peace-building and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

1997: Feeney goes public about his charity activities.

1999: Invests in Vietnam in the areas of higher education and health care.

2001: Funds biomedical research at Australia's Queensland University of Technology. Total Aussie medical grants: $320 million.

2002: Makes grant for South Africa AIDS relief. Has invested over $117 million in South African health care.

2004: Begins funding efforts to abolish the death penalty in the U.S. Has invested $28 million to date.

2006: Starts efforts to ensure health coverage for the almost 8 million uninsured children in the U.S.

2008: Makes $125 million grant for medical center at the University of California, San Francisco Mission Bay campus. Total UCSF grants: $290.5 million.

2012: With a $350 million investment, supports Cornell’s winning bid to develop NYC Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island.

2016: Will complete $1.3 billion worth of grants.

2020: The Atlantic Philanthropies will close.


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