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steven36 posted a topic in General NewsIt took decades, but Chuck Feeney, the former billionaire cofounder of retail giant Duty Free Shoppers has finally given all his money away to charity. He has nothing left now—and he couldn’t be happier. Charles “Chuck” Feeney, 89, who cofounded airport retailer Duty Free Shoppers with Robert Miller in 1960, amassed billions while living a life of monklike frugality. As a philanthropist, he pioneered the idea of Giving While Living—spending most of your fortune on big, hands-on charity bets instead of funding a foundation upon death. Since you can't take it with you—why not give it all away, have control of where it goes and see the results with your own eyes? “We learned a lot. We would do some things differently, but I am very satisfied. I feel very good about completing this on my watch,” Feeney tells Forbes. “My thanks to all who joined us on this journey. And to those wondering about Giving While Living: Try it, you'll like it.” Over the last four decades, Feeney has donated more than $8 billion to charities, universities and foundations worldwide through his foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies. When I first met him in 2012, he estimated he had set aside about $2 million for his and his wife's retirement. In other words, he's given away 375,000% more money than his current net worth. And he gave it away anonymously. While many wealthy philanthropists enlist an army of publicists to trumpet their donations, Feeney went to great lengths to keep his gifts secret. Because of his clandestine, globe-trotting philanthropy campaign, Forbes called him the James Bond of Philanthropy. Chuck Feeney and Warren Buffett in 2011 But Feeney has come in from the cold. The man who amassed a fortune selling luxury goods to tourists, and later launched private equity powerhouse General Atlantic, lives in an apartment in San Francisco that has the austerity of a freshman dorm room. When I visited a few years ago, inkjet-printed photos of friends and family hung from the walls over a plain, wooden table. On the table sat a small Lucite plaque that read: “Congratulations to Chuck Feeney for $8 billion of philanthropic giving.” That's Feeney—understated profile, oversize impact. No longer a secret, his extreme charity and big-bet grants have won over the most influential entrepreneurs and philanthropists. His stark generosity and gutsy investments influenced Bill Gates and Warren Buffett when they launched the Giving Pledge in 2010—an aggressive campaign to convince the world’s wealthiest to give away at least half their fortunes before their deaths. “Chuck was a cornerstone in terms of inspiration for the Giving Pledge,” says Warren Buffett. “He’s a model for us all. It’s going to take me 12 years after my death to get done what he’s doing within his lifetime.” 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. He didn’t wait to grant gifts after death or set up a legacy fund that annually tosses pennies at a $10 problem. He hunted for causes where he can have a dramatic impact and went all-in. In 2019, I worked with the Atlantic Philanthropies on a report titled Zero Is the Hero, which summarized Feeney’s decades of go-for-broke giving. While it contains hundreds of numbers, stats and data points, Feeney summarized his mission in a few sentences. “I see little reason to delay giving when so much good can be achieved through supporting worthwhile causes. Besides, it’s a lot more fun to give while you live than give while you're dead.” 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. On September 14, 2020, Feeney completed his four-decade mission and signed the documents to shutter the Atlantic Philanthropies. The ceremony, which happened over Zoom with the Atlantic Philanthropies’ board, included video messages from Bill Gates and former California Gov. Jerry Brown. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent an official letter from the U.S. Congress thanking Feeney for his work. At its height, the Atlantic Philanthropies had 300-plus employees and ten global offices across seven time zones. The specific closure date was set years ago as part of his long-term plan to make high-risk, high-impact donations by setting a hard deadline to give away all his money and close shop. The 2020 expiration date added urgency and discipline. It gave the Atlantic Philanthropies the time to document its history, reflect on wins and losses and create a strategy for other institutions to follow. As Feeney told me in 2019: “Our giving is based on the opportunities, not a plan to stay in business for a long time.” While his philanthropy is out of business, its influence reverberates worldwide thanks to its big bets on health, science, education and social action. Where did $8 billion go? Feeney gave $3.7 billion to education, including nearly $1 billion to his alma mater, Cornell, which he attended on the G.I. Bill. More than $870 million went to human rights and social change, like $62 million in grants to abolish the death penalty in the U.S. and $76 million for grassroots campaigns supporting the passage of Obamacare. 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 the 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. While notoriously frugal in his own life, Feeney was ready to spend big and go for broke when the value and potential impact outweighed the risk. FORBES spoke to Influential Philanthropists On How Chuck Feeney Changed Charity And Inspired Giving Source
steven36 posted a topic in General NewsThe new BSA could announce an electric motorcycle as soon as late 2021. One of the world’s most iconic motorcycle makers could soon get a second life as an EV manufacturer. In an interview with The Guardian, Indian billionaire Anand Mahindra said he plans to resurrect Birmingham Small Arms (BSA). In the 1950s, the company was the world’s largest motorcycle maker, only to go bankrupt two decades later due to mismanagement. The revived company has set an aggressive timeline for itself. It plans to start manufacturing combustion engine motorcycles in 2021, before announcing an electric battery model by the end of the year. In a separate interview with Bloomberg, Mahindra said whether the plan goes ahead will depend on if the UK is able to secure a trade deal with the European Union — that’s a big unknown at the moment. BSA wouldn’t be the first iconic British motorcycle maker to reimagine itself as an electric vehicle manufacturer. Earlier this year, Triumph (which BSA owned for a small time during its heyday), released the Trekker GT, its first electric bicycle. Across the pond, Harley-Davidson has been experimenting with electric motorcycles and e-bikes. Source
steven36 posted a topic in General NewsIt was a whirlwind day for Jeff Bezos. The world’s top billionaire briefly lost his spot as the richest man on Earth to Bill Gates on Friday morning, before recovering to reclaim the title by day’s end. The Amazon founder, who also owns the Washington Post, as well as aerospace firm Blue Origin among other holdings, fell to the No. 2 spot after the e-commerce giant’s stock price tumbled 7% in after-hours trading Thursday following a disappointing earnings report. It was the company’s first quarterly drop in profit since 2017, and it cost Bezos nearly $7 billion, lowering his net worth to $103.9 billion. Amazon shares roared back on Friday, however, allowing Bezos to finish the day with a net worth of $111.1 billion against Gates’ $107.5 billion. Bezos, 55, became the world’s richest man in 2018 with a net worth of $160 billion, ending Gates’ 24-year undefeated run in the top spot. The Amazon boss first joined The Forbes 400 list of richest Americans in 1998, a year after Amazon went public, with a net worth of $1.6 billion. Bezos’ brief slip Thursday wasn’t entirely due to his Amazon shares falling: He would never have lost the No. 1 spot if he and MacKenzie Bezos hadn’t divorced. In January, the pair announced their split, with MacKenzie, 49, receiving a quarter of their Amazon holdings in July. With a net worth of $32.7 billion, she is among the top 20 wealthiest people in the world. The Bezoses announced their split to fend off a news report about it — a report that included an embarrassing “below the belt” selfie Bezos intended for his mistress Lauren Sanchez. Gates, who debuted on Forbes’ first-ever billionaire list in 1987, with a net worth of $1.25 billion, stepped down as chairman of Microsoft in 2014, though he remains a board member. He is now the co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Shares of Amazon finished the day down 1.1% at $1,761.33, a bounce back from the 4.8% down the stock was at the open, while Microsoft ended Friday up 0.6%, at $140.73. Source
steven36 posted a topic in General NewsKey Points Billionaire philanthropist and independent presidential candidate Ross Perot is dead at 89, CNBC has confirmed. Perot, who ran for president in 1992 and 1996, died after a five-month battle with leukemia, a representative for the Perot family said. Perot was an early tech entrepreneur who founded his first company, Electronic Data Systems, in 1962 with $1,000 in savings. Billionaire businessman, philanthropist and independent presidential candidate Ross Perot is dead at 89, CNBC has confirmed. Perot, who ran for president in 1992 and 1996, died after a five-month battle with leukemia, said James Fuller, a representative for the Perot family. "In business and in life, Ross was a man of integrity and action. A true American patriot and a man of rare vision, principle and deep compassion, he touched the lives of countless people through his unwavering support of the military and veterans and through his charitable endeavors," Fuller said in a statement. Perot is survived by his wife, Margot, his five children and 16 grandchildren. Perot was an early tech entrepreneur. He started his career in sales at IBM, where he excelled. In 1962, he founded his first company, Electronic Data Systems, with just $1,000 in savings. More than two decades later, he launched information technology services provider Perot Systems, which was acquired in 2009 by Dell for $3.9 billion. As a disruptive third-party candidate for president, Perot ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility and protectionism. He won nearly 19% of the vote in the 1992 race — by far the biggest slice of the electorate for a third-party candidate since Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party in the 1912 election. Perot stood out from the political crowd for his quirks as much as his business credentials and lack of experience in establishment politics. "I don't have any experience in running up a $4 trillion debt. I don't have any experience in gridlock government, where nobody takes responsibility for anything and everybody blames everybody else," he said in a 1992 presidential debate. Perot participated in all three presidential debates in that election, and took a non-traditional campaign route by booking lengthy time slots on network television to lay out his political views. He was "certainly the most influential political force in the late 20th century from outside the regular party system," said Allan Lichtman, distinguished professor of history at American University. Lichtman told CNBC he had been tapped to write a biography of Perot, and Lichtman had agreed. But "quirky Ross Perot, just like he pulled out of the presidential race, he pulled out of the biography," Lichtman said. Perot was a veteran, and followed his service with a lifetime commitment to supporting U.S. veterans, especially during the Vietnam War. He was honored in 2009 by then-Veteran Affairs Secretary James Peake for his advocacy efforts. Perot's death led to an outpouring of warmth from his erstwhile political opponents. Former President George W. Bush said in a statement to NBC News that "Texas and America have lost a strong patriot" in Perot. "Ross Perot epitomized the entrepreneurial spirit and the American creed. He gave selflessly of his time and resources to help others in our community, across our country, and around the world. He loved the U.S. military and supported our service members and veterans. Most importantly, he loved his dear wife, children, and grandchildren. Laura and I send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Perot family as they celebrate a full life," Bush said. Former Vice President Al Gore said that he "always had the utmost respect for Ross Perot, for his patriotism, love of country, and extraordinary commitment to our veterans. I send my deepest condolences to his family and to everyone who loved and admired him." In his final interview with the Dallas News in 2016, Perot shrugged off a question about his legacy, saying "Aw, I don't worry about that." His parting words in that interview, however, were well-considered: "Texas born. Texas bred. When I die, I'll be Texas dead. Ha!" He passed away at his home in Dallas, in the company of his family. Source