Hear and Say would like to acknowledge the life and contributions of Charles F. Feeney (“Chuck”) to deaf and hard of hearing children and adults globally who benefited from his “Giving While Living” philanthropic philosophy.
We would like to express our sorrow at his passing in San Francisco in October 2023.
Our sympathy goes out to his wife Helga, who also played an active role in helping Hear and Say, and to their extended family.
The work of Hear and Say around the world was bought to Chuck’s attention many years ago, thanks to the intervention of Billy Lee Long and the Ken Fletcher Foundation.
Chuck began donating to Hear and Say through one of his charities, ‘The Children in Need Trust,’ to help children who are deaf or hard of hearing around 25 years ago. His support has transformed the lives of many children and families.
All of the children and families at Hear and Say have been beneficiaries of Chuck’s generosity and vision. He loved to help people who are disadvantaged, and those whose lives had been marginalised through circumstance, sickness or disability. He also loved the Australian-invented bionic ear technology of Professor Graeme Clark.
Some years into funding our work in Queensland, Chuck decided to co-fund Hear and Say’s international professional training programs as a result of numerous requests from other countries. The location of this work was chosen by Hear and Say and the Ken Fletcher Foundation to promote understanding and peace. This led to collaborative projects in 57 countries, including the Philippines, India, China and Taiwan, East Timor, Russia, Northern Ireland and Ireland. The project in Ireland was conducted online due to the Covid-19 pandemic and was his favourite, ‘because it brought people together,’ despite their religious and political differences.
Chuck and Helga Feeney were the major sponsors of Hear and Say’s head office in Brisbane, promoting the concept of a matched giving that encouraged other philanthropists to contribute. This concept, and his belief in ‘Giving While Living,’ served as a wonderful example to others.
Chuck’s final gift to Hear and Say was its inclusion as one of only three organisations worldwide to receive a financial tribute from others who wished to mark his passing.
We have valued and appreciated Chuck’s vision and philosophy, and his advice: ‘In the end, a nexus is everything, it brings people together’.
His legacy remains an inspiration to all of us.
Vale Chuck Feeney!