Remembering a Remarkable Human Being and Champion for Equity


The trustees and staff of China Medical Board mourn the passing of Chuck Feeney, a business leader, philanthropist, and equity champion, who died on October 9. Mr. Feeney’s long history of philanthropy was shaped by an unwavering desire to improve the lives of others. Through The Atlantic Philanthropies he directed his giving toward areas of global significance, including children and youth, aging, social determinants of health, and rights and reconciliation. He recognized the importance of investing in social change leaders willing to dedicate their expertise and passion to achieving meaningful and lasting change. His philanthropic goals were ambitious, yet his philanthropy was shaped by personal modesty and a belief that action was more important than credit received.

Mr. Feeney was constant in his commitment to “giving while living,” and CMB was privileged to be included among the foundation’s final set of “big bet” grants. That support enabled CMB to launch the Equity Initiative in 2016, a long-term fellowship program to promote health in Southeast Asia, particularly among vulnerable and marginalized people. Now 155 Fellows strong, and connected to six other values-based Atlantic fellowship programs, the Equity Initiative is a testament to Mr. Feeney’s vision and understanding of the power of people, individually and collectively, to take action to improve their communities. We see that vision reflected in our Fellows: the diverse, committed young leaders who seek the root causes of inequities in health and contribute their values, knowledge, and compassion to crafting solutions.

Wendy O’Neill, CMB Board Chair, said, “We at CMB are so grateful for our partnership with and the generosity of Atlantic and the source and inspiration of it all, Chuck Fenney. He was a pioneer in business and philanthropy, and he served as an example of munificence on a grand scale and promoted giving while living.”

CMB President Emeritus Lincoln Chen described Chuck Feeney as an unusual man: “Humble beyond reason for a multi-billionaire, he cared about doing good, and he did that with a range of philanthropic donations that went straight to the disadvantaged.  He was guided by his heart and instinct.”

CMB is confident that Chuck Feeney’s legacy will continue to reap benefits as people trained through the Equity Initiative, as well as through other Atlantic Fellows programs, will go on to realize their aspirations.