Here are some clues:
- In 1988 Forbes Magazine hailed him as the twenty-third richest American alive.
- He made and gave away practically all his fortune without anyone knowing it.
- He is the billionaire who wasn’t.
Even now, more than ten years since he finally (and grudgingly) “confessed” to his awe-inspiring philanthropy, and 7 years since the book detailing how he made and gave away his fortune was published, he is still relatively unknown. And apparently that’s exactly the way he likes it.
How much fortune did he give away (and is continuing to give away)? A lot. I am sure you’ve heard how generous Warren Buffet is. And Bill and Melinda Gates. Chuck Feeney is in that same league. Maybe even more.
While most other charities are designed to be perpetuated long after their benefactors have passed on, Chuck Feeney specifically demanded that all the fortunes he gave away be fully used up while he is still alive. In fact, he was complaining that it was not being given away fast enough.
Sounds like a very interesting fellow, this Chuck Feeney is, right? If you want to know all about it then go buy and read THE BILLIONAIRE WHO WASN’T, written by Conor O’Clery.
I remember getting the book as an impulse purchase on Amazon.com some time in late 2012. More accurately, I made a purchase on my xGF’s impulse. I bought the kindle (ebook) version. It is also available in paperback if that is what you prefer.