Best Quiet Philanthropist

This billionaire wears a $15 watch and flies coach.

from Reader's Digest Magazine | May 2004

Talk about the power of money: Charles Feeney earned billions as cofounder of Duty Free Shoppers. Then, in 1982, he secretly transferred his stake in DFS to Atlantic Philanthropies, a foundation he incorporated in Bermuda. Feeney didn’t disclose his identity until a DFS buyout in 1997. By that time, he had given away $600 million to universities, public-health and disadvantaged-children’s programs. The grants came as cashier’s checks, so recipients would not know the giver. Feeney’s plan is to spend Atlantic Philanthropies into the ground. Once rich as Midas, Feeney lives simply — he wears a $15 watch and flies coach.

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