An incredible Irish American has been making some of the largest charitable contributions in history and hoping no one notices – but we did.
Under the radar most of his life, Charles Francis Feeney was recently recognized for his long-standing history of philanthropic efforts made around the world at an intimate “Raise Your Glass” event and luncheon put on by Guinness and IrishCentral on Thursday, July 11 in San Francisco.
Feeney was also honored recently by Warren Buffett and Forbes Magazine for his incredible philanthropy. His Atlantic Foundation will have donated over $7.5 billion to education and worthy causes by the time it completes its funding.
IrishCentral founder Niall O’Dowd said Feeney was one of the greatest Americans. “The scale of the giving, the anonymity, the creation of 'giving while living' mark him as an incredible person. I am so delighted he agreed to be named to our unsung heroes list.”
In attendance to honor Feeney were his wife Helga Feeney; the Consul General of Ireland to the Western United States, Philip Grant; CEO at PCH International, Liam Casey and current president of Atlantic Philanthropies, Dave Smith.
Throughout his life, Feeney has gone above and beyond to help others, making bold choices no other man would think to make. His actions and devotion to doing more moved Guinness and IrishCentral to seek to acknowledge him.
Previous honorees for “Raise Your Glass” included heroic first responders at the Boston Marathon bombing and at the Hurricane Sandy disaster. US Senator Charles Schumer was acknowledged for his extraordinary work helping immigrants.
“I’m delighted by the recognition,” said Feeney. “It’s a firm belief of mine that people have the potential to do more and give back to their community in whatever capacity possible, and it’s an honor to be the a recipient of a 'Raise Your Glass' award.”
Guinness’ "Raise Your Glass" events are part of the brand’s MADE OF MORE campaign and will include more than 3,000 events around the country recognizing others who, like Feeney, rise to the challenge of making this world a better place.
Feeney created his fortune by co-founding the Duty Free Shoppers Group, which he would later sell for more than $1.6 billion. Feeney adopted the philosophy of 'Giving While Living,' believing that people should donate all they can throughout their life for the betterment of others. Feeney has lived by that code his whole life.
In 1984, Feeney invested the majority of his wealth into his foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, which was and is one of the largest personal donations in history. Preferring to make his biggest contributions under the radar, Feeney has spent his life dedicated to helping others. He was runner up for Time’s Man of the year in 1997. “I want the last check I write to bounce,” Feeney once told The New York Times.
Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland, summed up the afternoon saying, “Chuck Feeney has always been my hero for what he did for Ireland and for causes worldwide. I am delighted Guinness, a great Irish brand, and IrishCentral have taken the opportunity to honor him. It is richly deserved."
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* Originally published in 2014.