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The Bearable Lightness of Giving

Resource type: News

Courier Mail | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

By Mike Colman

He made billions selling in bulk to tourists – but Chuck Feeney sees it as his duty to give it all away.

As the security door is unlocked and I enter the suite of offices above a pub in Brisbane’s CBD, a little guy wearing a cardigan and a plastic watch shuffles towards me. “Hi,” he says, grasping my hand and continuing straight past me into the hallway. “I’m Chuck Feeney … and I’m going to the men’s room.”

Like the man himself, Feeney’s office is small and, at first glance, unremarkable. Nothing on the walls, just a set of shelves, a computer, printer and a desk covered with neat piles of photocopied press articles and brochures extolling soon-to-be opened educational and medical research facilities. But again, as with the man himself, appearances are misleading.This office is part of a multibillion-dollar operation with the potential to affect millions of lives, and Chuck Feeney is arguably the most generous man in the world.

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Chuck Feeney, The Atlantic Philanthropies