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Research Australia recognises American philanthropist

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has sent warm congratulations to long-time supporter Charles “Chuck” Feeney for receiving Research Australia’s Great Australian Philanthropy Award.

Mr Feeney, 83, a former American businessman, has given an extraordinary $233 million (AUS) to biomedical research in Queensland – helping to build or expand more than a dozen institutions.

Mr Feeney was nominated for the award by QIMR Berghofer and it was accepted on his behalf in Sydney last night by the Institute’s Director, Professor Frank Gannon.

Professor Gannon said that while not an Australian philanthropist, it was safe to say that Chuck Feeney was a great philanthropist for Australia.

“His philanthropic investment has undoubtedly provided the potential to change the health outcomes of millions of people – not just in Australia, but globally,” Professor Gannon said.

“QIMR Berghofer is managing world-leading research projects as a result of Chuck’s generosity.”

Professor Gannon said that Mr Feeney’s first gift to an Australian beneficiary was to QIMR Berghofer more than a decade ago.

“Since that time he has given more than $58 million dollars to the Institute, cementing its position as one of the top medical research facilities in the world,” Professor Gannon said.

In 2009, Chuck Feeney gifted $27.5 million towards ‘QIMR Berghofer Central’, a 13-storey building which houses state-of-the-art facilities and purpose-built laboratories.

Professor Gannon said the gift also helped the Institute to recruit top medical research scientists.

The Research Australia awards were presented to 10 leaders who have made invaluable contributions to medical research across eight categories, including The Macquarie Group Foundation Great Australian Philanthropy Award.

Research Australia CEO Elizabeth Foley said generous philanthropic donations to medical research make innovation possible.

“We congratulate and recognise commitment to advancing the health and medical research industry in this country,” Ms Foley said.

In 1984 Chuck Feeney placed all his assets into his foundation – The Atlantic Philanthropies – with a vision for them to be distributed to worthy causes during his lifetime.

Since the foundation’s inception, he has gifted more than $6.3 billion worldwide, predominantly in the areas of health, science and education.