Celebrating Real Accomplishment


If you attended Cornell University 1980s or 1990s and earlier you may have heard his name if you were part of the Hotel School community, which he occasionally visited. Even then you would have heard simply that he was “a good friend” of his alma mater. It was only in the last decade or so that his visionary generosity was made public, most notably on CBS news in the USA. He had worked hard to keep his name out of the stories related to his foundation’s philanthropic giving.

billionaircover-ecad87c5e5af133a76297c2d555e210992476de9-s1400-c85It eventually became easier to find information about  where all of that money went. Journalists did their work, and after he was revealed to be a genius of anonymous giving on a grand scale he reluctantly agreed to proper documentation of it all. He even agreed to a book-length documentation, which we first learned about here. Today the New York Times is reporting that he has finally achieved his goal of giving it all away. Bravo, Mr. Feeney, and thank you for reminding us what real accomplishment looks like:

…Nearly five years ago, Charles F. Feeney sat in a cushy armchair in an apartment on the east side of Manhattan, grandchildren’s artwork taped to the walls, and said that by the end of 2016, he was going to hand out the last of a great fortune that he had made. Continue reading

Generosity’s Change Agents


The rise of a new, fast-growing class of charities known as donor-advised funds represents a momentous shakeup in charitable giving in the U.S. ILLUSTRATION BY MARCUS BUTT / GETTY

Thanks to the contributors to the New Yorker’s website, we get frequent updates on topics we are interested in that might not make it into the long form reportage of the print magazine; case in point:


By Vauhini Vara

Each year, Stacy Palmer, the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, compiles a list of the U.S. charities that have raised the most money from private sources. In the twenty-six years that the Philanthropy 400 ranking has been published, one thing has stayed constant: United Way Worldwide is at the top. (The one exception was in 1996, when the Salvation Army briefly displaced it.) But when the results started coming in for this year’s list, which was published on Thursday morning, it became clear that a new No. 1 had emerged—an organization affiliated with Fidelity Investments, called Fidelity Charitable, which has grown to become one of the most influential charities in the world. “I was stunned,” Palmer recalled. The details were especially striking. Fidelity Charitable collected 4.6 billion dollars, a twenty-per-cent increase from the previous year. United Way ranked a distant second, with donations dropping by four per cent, to 3.7 billion dollars. “Not only were they”—Fidelity—“going to be No. 1, but they were going to be No. 1 by a lot,” Palmer remembered realizing. Continue reading