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Chuck Feeney Obituary; The Billionaire Who Gave Away His Wealth, Dies At 92

According to the Atlantic Philanthropies, the nonprofit he founded, he died quietly on Monday in San Francisco. Feeney donated more than $8 billion through the foundation to social, scientific, health, and educational purposes on five different continents.

Feeney promoted the idea of “Giving While Living,” encouraging other billionaires to give generously while they were still alive rather than forming foundations to do so after they passed away.

The philanthropist stated that giving while one is still alive is much more joyful than giving after one has died away in his biography, The Billionaire Who Wasn’t.

The retail entrepreneur amassed a significant portion of his wealth by co-founding Duty Free Shoppers in 1960, a chain of airport stores that specialized in luxury goods. He embarked on this venture with a fellow undergraduate from Cornell University.  

The foundation claims that Feeney made the decision to live simply for the last three decades of his life; he did not possess a home or a car, and he rented an apartment in San Francisco.

Feeney, who was born into a working-class Irish-American family in Elizabeth, New Jersey, during the Great Depression, enrolled in Cornell University in 1952 with the help of the GI Bill.

Because of the significant contributions he made to the university, he was known as the “third founder” of Cornell. According to an obituary on Cornell’s website, his foundation has given close to $1 billion to Cornell since 1982.