The incredibly rare instance of a billionaire being a not-terrible person, Chuck Feeney was the world’s ultimate Secret Santa for many years. He achieved a net worth of $9 billion through the travel retailer DFS Group. The route to his riches had the typical billionaire caveats – his international company sidestepped US taxes, among other loopholes, and at first he dabbled in the maligned yachts-and-palaces lifestyle. But he never sold his conscience and soon vowed to give his vast fortune back during his lifetime.
He began living humbly, and in 1982 discretely transferred his share in DFS to found a charity that bankrolled causes like brokering peace in Northern Ireland, building health care infrastructure in Vietnam, and expanding access to AIDS drugs in South Africa. While most billionaires who engage in philanthropy come with the asterisk of only doing it to chase positive press/pay as little tax as possible while still stockpiling billions, Feeney deliberately kept anonymous and became known as “the James Bond of philanthropy”. His identity only became public in 1996 after a business dispute, and in 2020 he met his goal of giving all his wealth away while alive. He was 92 and makes one final donation to Irish theme The Sick-Bed of Cuchulainn.
23 April 1931 – 9 October 2023, aged 92
💀💀💀💀💀 + 👻 = 9 POINTS