Immune to Cancer: The CRI Blog



CRI Remembers Transformational Philanthropist, Chuck Feeney

The Cancer Research Institute mourns the loss of Charles “Chuck” Feeney, an Irish American entrepreneur and philanthropist who used his wealth to better the world. CRI was a beneficiary of Chuck’s giving. In 1982, Feeney established The Atlantic Philanthropies by transferring all his business assets to this foundation. Between then and 2020 his foundation made grants totaling $8 billion, much of it anonymously.

In 1988, the Cancer Research Institute was privileged to have received The Atlantic Philanthropies’ first gift designated to biomedical research. Subsequently I had the honor and pleasure of knowing Chuck and working with him on three transformational gifts between 1996 and 2012 totaling $45 million. Because of his insightful philanthropy, which allowed for latitude and flexibility in the use of the grant monies over the funding period, CRI was able to grow essential programs, develop innovative initiatives, and launch its collaborative clinical strategy. These programs have trained young researchers, fueled the discovery of key basic knowledge about the immune system and cancer, and enabled the advancement of these findings into the clinic.

The sustained funding of Chuck Feeney and The Atlantic Philanthropies enabled CRI to capitalize more fully on its ability, unmatched anywhere in the field, to discover, develop, and optimize next generation cancer immunotherapies through a comprehensive program of basic, translational, and clinical research. Additionally, while Chuck’s philanthropy directly supported CRI’s research enterprise, he concomitantly demanded that we build up the internal capacity of the organization so that the growth he catalyzed could be maintained. I am extremely proud that CRI met those demands and has evolved into the organization it is today with a sustainable operating budget almost seven times larger than it was in 1996. The impact of a singular visionary donor cannot be underestimated.

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