CVS Celebrity: Chuck Feeney
The Billionaire Who Wasn't
The book, The Billionaire Who Wasn’t: How Chuck Feeney Made and Gave Away a Fortune Without Anyone Knowing, by Conor O’Clery is a fascinating example of the MDNA gift of Compelling Value & Stewardship.
Feeney collaborated with the biography which shares his incredible story:
In 1988 Forbes Magazine hailed Chuck Feeney as the twenty-third richest American alive. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey to a blue-collar Irish-American family during the Depression, a veteran of the Korean War, he had made a fortune as co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers, the world’s largest duty-free retail chain. But secretly, Feeney had already transferred all his wealth to his foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies. Only in 1997, when he sold his duty free interests, was he “outed” as one of the greatest and most mysterious American philanthropists in modern times. A frugal man who travels economy class and does not own a house or a car, Feeney then went “underground” again, until he decided in 2005 to cooperate in a biography to promote giving-while-living. Now in his mid-seventies, he is determined his foundation should spend the remaining $4 billion in his lifetime.
In 1997, Time Magazine said: “Feeney’s beneficence already ranks among the grandest of any living American.”
The classic attributes of the CVS start with the intrinsic motivation to stewards of all resources, whether they be financial, intellectual or human capital. The CVS has the innate ability to attract and capitalize on opportunities–especially in the financial sense. Those with this Motivational Value System are very private, independent, resourceful and frugal (frugality often to the point of frustration of others). And when the CVS gives, they prefer to do it anonymously. In fact, Feeney was so secretive in his generosity that he threatened legal action against any beneficiary that tried to recognize him. And he would have stayed a secret if not forced to reveal his charitable activities.
Chuck Feeney embodied all of these and other attributes of this MDNA gift to the benefit of all society.
“I had one idea that never changed in my mind—that you should use your wealth to help people. I try to live a normal life, the way I grew up.” ~ Chuck Feeney
In February 2011, Feeney joined The Giving Pledge, which is a campaign to encourage the wealthiest people in the world to make a commitment to give most of their wealth to philanthropic causes. In his letter to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, the founders of The Giving Pledge, Feeney wrote,
“I cannot think of a more personally rewarding and appropriate use of wealth than to give while one is living—to personally devote oneself to meaningful efforts to improve the human condition. More importantly, today’s needs are so great and varied that intelligent philanthropic support and positive interventions can have greater value and impact today than if they are delayed when the needs are greater.”
It’s not surprising that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, in the context of MDNA, are also gifted CVS. This is why the CVS is often described as, “the gift that keeps on giving.”
Please note that these are unofficial profiles only and have not been verified. Description is only based upon public information and may represent either primary or secondary MDNA gifts. This profile is intended for educational purposes only to demonstrate the possibilities of MDNA for those that have been personally assessed.