The Happy Starfish

Living Mindfully & Celebrating Health, Happiness & Peaceful Living

Giving while living

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“If you haven’t got any charity in your heart then you have the worst kind of heart trouble”. Bob Hope

I love a good pay it forward story and they don’t get much bigger than the phenomenal generosity of Chuck Feeny. Chuck, an Irish-American, made a fortune from duty free shopping and quietly in the 1980’s began giving much of his fortune away. To date he has given an incredible $7.5 billion/£4.9 billion to good causes including health, science and education.  

“People who have money have an obligation”, Chuck said. “I wouldn’t say I’m entitled to tell them what to do with it but to use it wisely”. 

Chuck has his feet firmly on the ground, wearing a $15 dollar watch, and made his children work to support themselves during college.

“I became convinced that there was greater satisfaction from giving my money away and seeing something come out of the ground, like a hospital or a university”, he stated during an interview. “It just seemed logical to put the money to good use rather than putting it into a bank account and letting it accumulate and accumulate. I concluded that if you hung on to a piece of the action for yourself you’d always be worrying about that piece. People used to ask me how I got my jollies, and I guess I’m happy when what I’m doing is helping people and unhappy when what I’m doing isn’t helping people”.

Chuck currently has around $2 million left which he plans to also donate before he dies. A great believer in ‘giving while living’ he says “I want the last cheque I write to bounce”. 

What an incredible guy. While we can’t match his cash donations we can all be generous in our own way. Giving our time can be as important to the recipient as money.

Pay it forward. Be kind wherever possible; it’s always possible.




Author: thehappystarfish - living mindfully

Louise Jensen is an award winning Naturopathic Kinesiologist, Mindfulness Meditation Coach and Nutritional Therapist, and is certified in many other therapies, including the Mind Detox Method (as featured on Discovery Health) where she graduated from the Mind Detox Academy in record time. Louise has overcome living with a disability and has 13 years experience helping others to heal, and shares her experiences through freelance writing. In 2012, Louise co-created The Happy Starfish, dedicated to celebrating health, happiness and peaceful living. Louise offers Mindfulness Coaching via workshops and Skype and specialises in anxiety, depression and chronic pain.

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