Australia honors the founder of Atlantic Philanthropies

Charles "Chuck" Feeney has been appointed an Honorary Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia for his services to the country’s health, research and higher education.

He founded The Atlantic Philanthropies more than 40 years ago, which has since donated or invested around $12 billion dollars worldwide. It has largely supported health and social projects, focusing on education, science, health care, children and youth, aging, human rights and reconciliation.

Chuck Feeney’s philanthropy established over 20 health, medical research and university institutions across Australia, with the support of co-contributions from government and the private sector.

Among the Atlantic Philanthropies’ many endeavors has been the Atlantic Fellows, a diverse, growing global community comprising seven equity-focussed programs, including the University of Melbourne-based Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity, which supports Indigenous peoples.

“We are delighted that the Australian Government has recognized Chuck Feeney’s commitment to fostering social change in Indigenous communities through funding the program,” Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity, Executive Director, Professor Liz McKinley said.

The foundation also made investments in numerous other University of Melbourne projects and initiatives, most notably those that sought to build capacity across the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct, as well as other Indigenous-focused investments such as support for the University’s research partnership with Indigenous communities in Northeast Arnhem Land.

In 2021, the University honored Mr Feeney, together with Atlantic Philanthropies President and CEO Christopher Oechsli, by appointing them Fellows of the University of Melbourne in recognition of their extraordinary philanthropic investment and leadership.

By appointing Mr Feeney as a Companion in the Order of Australia, the government acknowledged the eminent contribution he has made to Australian society and the betterment of humanity-at-large.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Patrick Gorman MP, said: "Mr. Feeney’s philosophy of 'giving while living' has changed the culture of Australian philanthropy. He is the ultimate quiet achiever, keeping his generosity secret for decades until it was revealed in 1996 that he was the head of The Atlantic Philanthropies. 

“His visionary approach has ensured a magnified contribution to society that will endure for many generations, alongside his support for ground-breaking scientific discoveries."

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