Silverback Charles … Giving It All Away

[Here’s a Silverback who sets an example for the rest of us in The Jungle. SB SM]

RIP Charles Feeney, who gave away $8b

By Sam Klebanov

from Morning Brew … October 11, 2023

Charles Feeney

Liz O. Baylen/Getty Images

The entrepreneur behind the classic airport pastime of snagging untaxed goodies is no longer with us: Charles Feeney, the billionaire co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers, died at 92 earlier this week.After living large off the massive profits from the global duty-free shops franchise and investments in tech startups, Feeney felt like his wealth was undeserved. He ultimately rejected the billionaire lifestyle, donating over $8 billion to various causes while keeping a measly $2 million for his retirement.

Instead of oceanfront Malibu mansions, bespoke Rolls-Royces, and private flights to Burning Man….Feeney rented a two-bedroom apartment, took public transit, and sported a $10 watch, according to the New York Times. He flew economy until he was 75, foregoing the extra legroom even for long trips.

Where’d his money go? Through his nonprofit, Atlantic Philanthropies, Feeney Feeney donated to his alma mater, Cornell University, as well as to universities in Ireland, and hospitals in Vietnam. He also bankrolled humanitarian causes, like death penalty abolition and peace efforts to end sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.

Unlike most billionaire philanthropists…Feeney made many of his contributions anonymously, often using cashier’s checks to hide their origin.—SK

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