1931-2023

Remembering Chuck

In loving memory of Charles (Chuck) F. Feeney whose generosity and spirit touched the hearts of all who knew him and millions more who didn’t, yet whose lives were changed for the better because of him.

In giving away his $8 billion fortune through The Atlantic Philanthropies which as its ‘last big bet’ funded Atlantic Fellows, Mr Feeney ensured that it was the people with the expertise on the ground who were empowered to deliver the change his financial support enabled.

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tribute
Giving while living, and beyond.

“Humility, trust and allyship are words that come to mind when thinking about Chuck Feeney”, says Dr Tracey Naledi, Board Chair of Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity in South Africa. ‘Humility, because he did not like the spotlight which calls on us to advance the cause without advancing ourselves. Trust because in giving millions of dollars through Atlantic Philanthropies, Chuck trusted people on the ground to stick to mission; allyship because in giving that trust, Chuck created an environment which was empowering, rather than one which was restricting and constricting by not imposing direction (from the Global North)’.

Chuck Feeney’s legacy serves as a testament to the positive change that can be achieved when generosity is paired with a visionary mindset.

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Dear Chuck Feeney, I am truly grateful for your gift to me personally and to many more. Your gift multiplies in many forms and layers and I could not thank you enough for the opportunities you have allowed me. It is your gift that has allowed me to form connections with so many amazing souls in this world. Your gift allows me to cross borders, geographically, across disciplines and interests. May your spirit continue inspiring us as Atlantic Fellows to further and extend your gift to many around us. Thank you and Rest in the Power of Peace.
Carmeneza Dos Santos Monteiro
Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity in Southeast Asia
Rest in love. Huge gratitude for all you have done not just for the Fellows but also for the kaupapa of solidarity among Indigenous peoples worldwide. Haere oti atu ra.
Boyd Broughton
Atlantic Fellow for Social Equity
He gave us a system to ensure that we know that we have the support and resources to tackle any global issue. He made the small big. How? In reality, I grew up on the small island in Tobago with 50,000 persons. His commitment to invest in me made me want to invest more deeply in the health equity of others. I strongly believe that his system via the Fellowship helped me to start my career at UNICEF. His belief in others who he had never met, and his love and investment in people first will always inspire me.
Bertrand Moses
Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity U.S. + Global
A few weeks ago, I thought about Chuck and wondered if the birthday message I had the privilege of writing and recording for him earlier this year had made him smile. You are a rare gem indeed, Chuck: exemplary, quiet, private and inspirational. You are not really gone because you live on through your giving. Thank you for a life well lived!
Foluke Ojelabi
Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity
Deeply saddened by Chuck Feeney's passing as an extraordinary and visionary leader who modelled the type of humble, kind and generous leadership the world so desperately needs. His legacy will live on in the lives of people he impacted, not least those who continue to bring to life through practice rather than words — his vision for fairer, healthier and more inclusive societies. Like so many people in the world, my life was forever changed when I became an Atlantic Fellow in 2017 and then a staff member at the Institute. Without Chuck's “big bet” in the Atlantic Fellows this would never have happened. I am grateful and honoured. Moe mai ra e te rangatira, e Chuck.
Evie O'Brien
Atlantic Institute Executive Director, Atlantic Fellow for Social Equity
I would like to pay my deepest tribute to this unsung hero! I am in awe of the generosity of a billionaire somewhere in the U.S. who has touched the life of a girl born in an unknown town, Ngqeleni. I joined Tekano Health Equity in 2018. The programme allowed me to robustly reflect on who I am. I am now an unapologetic advocate for socioeconomic development.
Siphamandla Mpikeleli
Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity in South Africa
Chuck Feeney’s contribution to my life has been transformative. Silently and humbly, he peered into the abyss of inhumanity, and illuminated it with resounding belief. His loss dims our world. His legacy is a lighting and fusing of sparks, the world over amidst turbulence, perhaps a steady constellation of hope
Durkhanai Ayubi
Atlantic Fellow for Social Equity
The wind will always whisper his name, the moon and stars will sit in conversation in reverence and remembrance of a legacy that Chuck Feeney left behind, impacting the lives of many. What a life well lived!
Amanda Oduka
Atlantic Institute, Program & Impact Lead (Grants)
My home is the island of Ireland, a land touched by the transformative philanthropy of Chuck Feeney, I am deeply thankful. His contributions for peace, education, and global health inspire me. As an Atlantic Fellow, I'm honored and resolute in pursuing his vision of fairer, healthier, and more inclusive societies.
Corinna Grimes
Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health
Chuck Feeney's philanthropy and legacy transformed my life, through the Atlantic Fellowship. It helped bring visibility to me, my work and my country. It opened up access to doors that I did not know existed. It helped me choose to be excellent! It fuelled the equity fire within me.
Shubha Nagesh
Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity U.S. + Global
I am privileged to have been a beneficiary of your good deed, Chuck. The Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity program, courtesy of you, has given me new perspectives in the work I do on challenging inequalities. Rest in Power, Chuck.
James Muraguri
Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity
I wish there were more people like Chuck Feeney, who helped shape the way philanthropy should be. And, who are interested in disrupting economic systems and philanthropy in a way that gives communities more of a runway and allows them to actually build in the long term. Most of our focus, or philanthropic focus or electoral focus in America, is very short term. We will not ever move systems if we don’t have a long-term view. Chuck has enabled that to happen on a global scale.
Elana Needle
Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity
Chuck went beyond donating. He built bridges so that distant worlds could connect and seek solutions for a better, less unequal and a fairer world.
Carlos Chechetti
Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health
The particular spirit of Chuck's generosity — the deep faith in people and humility that mark it — has opened space for a network of changemakers at AFRE to evolve in beautiful ways, to find each other across their differences, and to practise transformative community together. It's an honour to support this work, and I'm deeply grateful to Chuck for his generosity and commitment to it and to a better world.
Dupe Oyebolu
Associate Director of Communications, Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity
There is a saying: “Money is the root cause of all evil.” Chuck Feeney defied this. He was living proof that money in the hands of good people can serve as a tool for bringing about global change through his global philanthropic work. I would like to say, “Thank you,” “Enkosi” (Xhosa) and “Siyabonga” (Zulu) to Chuck. We have been blessed with the opportunity to become better leaders today and tomorrow. May his legacy live on, may we remember and may we continue to be inspired by and learn from his life's vision, mission and goals in the work we do.
Andile Joyce Mthombeni
Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity in South Africa
“I see little reason to delay giving when so much good can be achieved through supporting worthwhile causes today.” This statement inspired me to be a front-liner for advocating good governance. To quote a fellow public servant: “Evil thrives when good folk do nothing. We have to do what is right even if it is something unpopular.”
Alfredo Matugas Coro II
Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity in Southeast Asia
Atlantic Fellows' Reflections

Fellows from each of the seven equity-focussed programs reflect on the work the Fellowship has enabled them to do in the communities they support as a result of Chuck’s funding of the global Atlantic community through The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Chuck Feeney’s Legacy

Dedicated to the life, work and global impact of Chuck Feeney, founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies, and reflecting on the many tributes from Fellows and program staff.

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