Chuck Feeney, the duty free pioneer who secretly donated almost all of his fortune to charity during his life, has died at the age of 92. He lived in San Francisco in a modest rented apartment. He announced the demise of Atlantic Philanthropies, a group of foundations that Feeney had created in the early 1980s.
Who was Chuck Feeney
Chuck Feeney was born in New Jersey in 1931 to a modest family of Irish origins. He worked as a radio operator for the US Air Force during the Korean War and began his career selling duty-free liquor to American servicemen. He later graduated from Cornell University in New York, which he had enrolled thanks to a fund created to allow those who had been in the army to study. Feeney then returned to duty-free sales with Robert Warren Miller, a former classmate. In 1960 Miller and Feeney founded Duty Free Shoppers, which proved to be a very successful business. Without telling his partner anything, in 1984 Feeney decided to donate most of his earnings to Atlantic Philanthropies, which he had created two years earlier.
Who benefited from Feeney’s generosity
From abolishing the death penalty in the United States to supporting public health, there are numerous areas Feeney supports. The donations went to prestigious universities and hospitals such as Cornell University or Mount Sinai Hospital in New York but also many small institutions that managed to survive only thanks to Feeney’s generosity. You have donated more than $8 billion to educational, health, scientific and social causes. Feeney kept two million dollars for himself to give to his five adult children.