“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.