Skip to main content

Feeney Awarded Inaugural International Philanthropy Medal

Resource type: News

Pro Bono Australia | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

One of Australia’s biggest philanthropic benefactors, Charles “Chuck” Feeney, is the inaugural recipient of a prestigious new award recognizing global generosity.

Feeney, an international business leader and philanthropist who made his fortune worth billions and quietly gave it all away, is the first person to receive the Stead Medal in International Philanthropy awarded by Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Chuck Feeney

The medal is awarded to people who have demonstrated outstanding commitment and leadership in all aspects of international philanthropy and who have worked to sustain philanthropy as a globally significant force for improving communities, institutions and people.

The University said that Feeney, the co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers who for years gave anonymously through his foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, has made grants totaling more than $7 billion to bring about lasting change in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people around the world.

Established as a limited-life foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies will complete its grant making in 2016.

“Philanthropy in the 21st century transcends national boundaries, as do the most pressing needs donors seek to address. Chuck Feeney has long been a visionary in giving across borders and is one of the truly great international philanthropists of our time,” Indiana University President Michael McRobbie said at the medal presentation.

“In fact, there are few philanthropists in the world who can rival his enormous transformational impact, which is evident around the globe.

“Millions of people around the world have benefitted from programs that Atlantic and Feeney have supported in aging, children and youth services, health and reconciliation and human rights.

“Many of these efforts are focused in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam.”

Feeney said he was humbled by the award.

“The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy represents the first and foremost university level institution dedicated to the study of philanthropy,” Feeney said.

“We are pleased to be engaged with them in spreading the knowledge and need of worldwide philanthropy and my philosophy of ‘Giving While Living’.”

The University said that in Australia, Atlantic Philanthropies had played a significant role in advancing research and development in information technology and biotechnology, higher education and cancer research.

In August 2015 Feeney was named in the Australian Philanthropy Top 250 list, made up of individuals and families who have donated more than $1 million to charitable causes, after donating more than $500 million to Australian education and research.

“Chuck Feeney is the very model of a global citizen and he has enormous impact internationally, making him the ideal inaugural recipient of the Stead Medal in International Philanthropy,” Dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Amir Pasic said.

“The elevation of human dignity that his efforts have enabled will spur movement forward, leading to the expansion and greater effectiveness of international philanthropy. He has set the bar high for all those who come after.

“The Atlantic Philanthropies support for our early efforts to pioneer the field of Philanthropic Studies, launch innovative, translational research to serve the sector, and develop faculty and academic programs helped make it possible for Indiana University to create the world’s first school dedicated to teaching and research about philanthropy.

“Further, Atlantic’s support of unique educational programs resulted in the preparation of students who are now national and international leaders in philanthropy.”

The Stead Medal in International Philanthropy was created in honor of international corporate turnaround expert, Jerre Stead, in recognition of his career as a philanthropist and his pursuit of developing the next generation of philanthropic leaders.

Stead is chairman and CEO of IHS Inc, a global information and insight services company that employs more than 8,800 people in 32 countries. He has served as either chairman or CEO of seven major national and international corporations.

Stead has served on scores of corporate and Not for Profit boards, including the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, the Garrett Evangelical Seminary and the Salk Institute, as well as the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s board of visitors.

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy was founded in 1987 to deliver a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its academic, research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute.