Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Charles Feeney is a billionaire...

...who's in the process of giving away all of his money. He's donated $6 billion so far and figures he'll part with the last $1.5 billion by 2016. From a piece in the Times today (my emphasis): 

...Warren Buffett called Mr. Feeney the “spiritual leader” of a campaign urging extremely wealthy people to donate their money. 

He buys clothes off the rack — “I’m a shabby dresser,” he said — and until recently, flew coach as he traveled among four or five continents. “They decided as part of my 75th-birthday celebrations that I would be entitled to fly first class,” Mr. Feeney said, sounding a bit embarrassed. “I’ll be honest, I’m not good at flying anymore. To my credit, I can stretch out on two coach seats.” 

When in New York, Mr. Feeney lives in a building on a side street in Midtown Manhattan, preferring to bob in the anonymous streams of a crowded sidewalk to being swaddled in the liveried privacy he could easily have bought on Park or Fifth Avenue. 

He has given away essentially everything he has made, apart from decent, though not extravagant, provisions for his four daughters and one son. They all worked through college as waiters, maids and cashiers. 

“I want the last check I write to bounce,” Mr. Feeney said.

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