The Billionaire Who Is Trying To Go Broke
Over his career Feeney amassed a $7.5 billion fortune that he intends to give away entirely in his lifetime. His foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, has funnelled $6.2 billion into education, science, health care, aging and civil rights in the U.S., Australia, Vietnam, Bermuda, South Africa and Ireland. The remaining $1.3 billion will be spent by 2016, and the foundation will be shuttered in 2020.
According to Forbes, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett credit Feeney as a major inspiration for both the $30 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. As of July 2013, 113 billionaire individuals and couples and one family group have signed the pledge.
“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,” Feeney says. “I set out to work hard, not to get rich.”