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

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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 recharge@motherjones.com, 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.

If you have a Recharge story or just want a direct word of recognition, let us know at recharge@motherjones.com.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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