Chuck Feeney was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to a blue-collar Irish-American family during the Great Depression. After he served in the Korean War, he made a fortune as founder of Duty Free Shoppers, the world's largest duty-free retail chain. In 1988, he was hailed by Forbes Magazine as the 24th richest American alive.
Secretly, Feeney has already transferred all of 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 philanthropists in modern times. He had anonymously funded universities and hospitals from San Francisco to New York to Brisbane. His example convinced Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to give away their fortunes during their lifetime, known as the Giving Pledge.
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