As Billionaires Get Richer During the Pandemic, Here’s One Who Anonymously Gave Everything Away—All $8 Billion

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.After 38 years of secret donations, a billionaire many times over has, at 89, given away all $8 billion to schools, charities, and foundations. Chuck Feeney of San Francisco has walked the walk after amassing his fortune as a co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers, following through on a pledge to empty his pockets for a clearer conscience. (His name became public only after the duty-free stores were sold and a lawsuit over the sale would’ve revealed his anonymous donations.)
As my colleague Mark Helenowski visualized in a must-watch video revealing the staggering wealth accumulated by a tiny few during the pandemic, this period of crisis has been a payout for billionaires. Almost 650 of them have grown their collective wealth by an estimated $685 billion since March. Watch his animated video and take stock in—uh, take into account (uh, take into consideration)—the fact that while many superwealthy get superwealthier, at least one has taken steps to change course.
I can hear your begrudging applause. I too am inclined not to applaud too loudly because Recharge’s coffers have not been lined with Feeney’s billions. If any billionaires get in touch at, I’d be amenable to putting you in contact with my colleagues in our giving department.
Goodness in the world:
Double win. Actors Ron and Jasmine Cephas Jones have become the first father-daughter pair to win Emmys at the same time. Well done.
Marching on. This Saturday is the fourth annual March for Black Women, held virtually to keep marchers socially distanced. Speakers include Rep. Ilhan Omar, Gina Belafonte (daughter of Harry Belafonte), and Opal Tometi, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter.
Soaring. Teenage trumpeters Maglyn Bertrand and Tatjana Lightbourn are the new Louis Armstrong House Museum fellows and they’re planning virtual tours and blogs to highlight Armstrong’s home and legacy.
Screening. The LA Asian Pacific Film Festival is showing Francis Wong: Chinatown Revolutionary, a look at the pioneering San Francisco–based saxophonist and activist who co-founded Asian Improv aRTS with Jon Jang—who, together, merge their depth of music with historical narratives and a commitment to justice. Catch my interview with Jang.
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