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Charles F. Feeney Honored with Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Resource type: News

The Atlantic Philanthropies |

Atlantic’s Founding Chairman, Charles F. Feeney, along with seven other philanthropists, has been awarded the 2015 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. Each recipient has had significant and lasting impact on a particular field, nation or the international community, and each embodies the spirit and example of giving set forth by Andrew Carnegie. This year’s honorees include Paul G. Allen, Jeremy and Hanne Grantham and David M. Rubenstein. View a full list of honorees >

Tribute Videos

At a luncheon held at the New York Public Library on October 15, 2015, each recipient was introduced by a short video recognizing their work and impact. View all tribute videos >

VIDEO: Charles F. Feeney, founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies, has quietly made countless large investments to meet today’s urgent challenges in education, health care, and peace and reconciliation. Narrated by Tina Fey.

Caroleen Feeney’s Remarks 

Mr. Feeney’s daughters Caroleen Feeney and Leslie Feeney Baily, along with Christopher Oechsli, President and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies, accepted the award on behalf of their father. Caroleen’s moving speech, presented in full below, was a highlight of the event.

If my dad was here, he’d have cracked a joke by now, thanked everyone, and rushed off the stage, mumbling something about ‘Giving feels good, give more money.’ The only jokes I know are really dirty, so I’m going to move along.

When I was a kid, I was having trouble at school. And I came home one day to find a piece of paper on my desk with a quote from Dr. George Sheehan. It read: “Success means having the courage, the determination and, above all, the will to become the person you were meant to be. Then you will be able to say, ‘I have found my hero, and he is me.’” Only my dad had scratched out the ‘he’ and replaced it with ‘SHE’ in big block letters. In a world that has not always been kind to women, my dad wanted me to make sure that I could do anything I set my mind on, and he wanted me to know that being a woman was the greatest asset.

I share this story because I think what makes my dad truly special is that he wants that for everybody. Not just for me, not just for his daughter, not just for women, for everyone. He doesn’t care about religious affiliations, ethnicity, status, or whom people love. He believes that everyone deserves a shot at a meaningful, happy, and healthy life.

As my dad gets older, I think his message takes on more urgency, and an award like this has a deeper meaning. Giving is very personal and everyone has their own style and their own causes, as it should be. My dad is not interested in the things that most people associate with wealth, which I guess makes him a bit of an oddball. But he loves good food, good wine, books, travel, comfortable shoes, a reliable watch, and excellent cheesecake. And as he has told me many, many times, ‘I have enough money to enjoy all that. The rest I don’t need, so why hold on to it when someone else does?’

I hope that my dad inspires others the way that Andrew Carnegie inspired him. Thank you.

– Caroleen Feeney

Learn More

> Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

> Giving Takes Center Stage at Carnegie Lunch, Wall Street Journal, 15 October 2015