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Billionaire Chuck Feeney Is Now Officially Broke

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Billionaire Duty Free Shoppers co-founder Chuck Feeney, 89, is now broke after giving his $8 billion fortune to charity - It took decades, but Chuck Feeney, the former billionaire cofounder of retail giant Duty Free Shoppers has finally given all his money away to charity. He has nothing left now—and he couldn’t be happier.

Billionaire Chuck Feeney Is Now Officially Broke

“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 tells Forbes. “My thanks to all who joined us on this journey. And to those wondering about Giving While Living: Try it, you'll like it.”

Charles Francis "Chuck" Feeney is an Irish-American businessman and philanthropist and the founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the largest private foundations in the world. He made his fortune as a co-founder of the Duty Free Shoppers Group, which pioneered the concept of duty-free shopping.

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.

Feeney has married twice. His first wife Danielle is French. They have four daughters, Juliette M. Feeney-Timsit, Caroleen A. Feeney, Diane V. Feeney, Leslie D. Feeney-Baily and one son, Patrick A. Feeney. His second wife Helga is his former secretary.

He is known for his frugality. According to a The New York Times article in 2017, "Until he was 75, he traveled only in coach, and carried reading materials in a plastic bag. For many years, when in New York, he had lunch not at the city's luxury restaurants, but in the homey confines of 'Tommy Makem's Irish Pavilion' on East 57th Street, where he ate the burgers." As from 2016, he lived in a rented apartment in San Francisco, with a remaining nest egg of $2 million.

Chuck Feeney Quotes and Sayings


“There is nothing wrong with a big bet, if a big bet is a good bet.”-- Chuck Feeney

“I had one idea that never changed in my mind—that you should use your wealth to help people.”-- Chuck Feeney

“On why he has donated $600 million to selected charities. I simply decided I had enough money.”-- Chuck Feeney

“I believe strongly in 'giving while living.' I see little reason to delay giving when so much good can be achieved through supporting worthwhile causes today.”-- Chuck Feeney

“I’m happy when what I’m doing is helping people and unhappy when what I’m doing isn’t helping people.”-- Chuck Feeney

“I cannot think of a more personally rewarding and appropriate use of wealth than to give while one is living - to personally devote oneself to meaningful efforts to improve the human condition. More importantly, today's needs are so great and varied that intelligent philanthropic support and positive interventions can have greater value and impact today than if they are delayed when the needs are greater.”-- Chuck Feeney




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