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November 4, 2011 / charityprofiles

Almost Unheard Of

The Atlantic Philanthropies has given away billions but has not been well heard of until only recently precisely because that was the desire of its founder. Since its creation in 1982, it has made donations totaling $5.4 billion.

The foundation focuses on the following areas: Aging, Children & Youth, Population,  Health, and Reconciliation & Human Rights. Some of its donations can be very large in size such that it has made a big impact on its area of interest. Its donations in Australia, for instance, which is focused on the field of medicine amounted to around $500 million.

The story and spirit of this foundation is its founder Charles “Chuck” Feeney who made his fortune as co-founder of the Duty Free Shops. After selling his shares in the company he practically gave it all away by forming this foundation. Since 1982, his foundation has been giving money to causes and with very few people knowing it since this was Feeney’s wish.

In most schools, alumni who made it big donate generously and are properly recognized with buildings and programs named in their honor. However,  Feeney was different; in fact, it was only lately that it became known that he is actually one of the all time top donors of Cornell University, his alma mater. His He donated around $600 million.

To be able to encourage other super-rich individuals, he decided to change his approach of donating silently and has now been more open with the foundation’s donations. It has been a unique and humble approach in the grandest of scale. By donating anonymously manner, it was truly giving without expecting or asking for anything in return.

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