Over the last four decades, Feeney has donated more than $8 billion to charities, universities, and foundations worldwide through his foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies.
Feeney gave big money to big problems—whether bringing peace to Northern Ireland, modernizing Vietnam's health care system, or spending $350 million to turn New York's long-neglected Roosevelt Island into a technology hub.
On September 14, 2020 Chuck Feeney--with wife Helga Feeney--signed documents in San Francisco marking the close of the Atlantic Philanthropies after four decades of global giving.
He gave more than $700 million in gifts to health ranging from a $270 million grant to improve public healthcare in Vietnam to a $176 million gift to the Global Brain Health Institute at University of California, San Francisco.
One of Feeney’s final gifts, $350 million for Cornell to build a technology campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island is a classic example of his giving philosophy.
Recode’s review of Ellison’s charitable record reveals how the longtime Oracle CEO has used his charity money to pursue everything from backing idiosyncratic pet projects to smoothing over disputes with angry shareholders.
Ellison’s spokespeople told reporters at the time that the $100 million donation to the Ellison Foundation was “totally unrelated” to the Harvard cancellation, despite the Financial Times reporting.
They blamed the changed plan instead on the departure of Harvard president Larry Summers, who had been closely working with Ellison to seal the deal, but had been forced to resign in February 2006 in the aftermath of comments he’d made in early 2005 about women in science that were roundly criticized as sexist.
Whether the money was going to Harvard or to Ellison’s foundation, the saga showed how Ellison was prone to use his charity to solve his personal legal challenges.