Cornell’s $350 Million Donor Does Not Own Car, House

It is safe say that you’re rich, very rich, if you donated $350 million to Cornell University to construct a new technology-based satellite campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City.

The new campus is expected to generate an additional $1.4 billion in tax revenue to New York City, 20,000 construction jobs, and 30,000 new jobs once the school is in operations.

The donor remained anonymous until The New York Times unmasked him with a profile.

The very rich guy is Charles F. Feeney, an 80-year-old Cornell alumnus who made tons of money with his stake at the company he co-founded, the Duty Free Shoppers Group. He sold his stake for $2.47 billion in 1996 to LVMH Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton. Since then, he has taken on anonymously donating to different institutions.

Even before the $350 million donation to Cornell, Feeney has already donated more than $600 million to the university. The latest one is the largest, so far. He has given $280,000 to Sinn Fein, $125 million to University of California-San Francisco to build a medical center that would treat children and women with cancer, and €46m to the University of Limerick in Ireland, among others. He said he;s been donating his money because he “simply decided I had enough money.”

Despite his riches though, Feeney, a native of Elizabeth, New Jersey, is a known frugal. He does not own a car and a house. He flies coach. He even wears a $15 watch.

His goal in life is to become broke before his own death.

How about you, what is your goal in life?

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