Open Society Foundations pledges $220 million for racial equity causes


Alliance magazine


The Open Society Foundations announced this week that it would be investing $220 million in efforts to achieve racial equality in America. Of the full sum, the foundation will invest $150 million in five-year grants for selected groups, including progressive and emerging organisations like the Black Voters Matter Fund, Circle for Justice Innovations, Repairers of the Breach. The remaining $70 million will go to local grants supporting changes to policing and criminal justice, as well as opportunities for civic engagement.

OSF President Patrick Gaspard said in an interview that the group believed the investment was about harnessing the momentum toward racial justice, but also giving organisations room to think long-term. Now, he said, is ‘the moment we’ve been investing in for the last 25 years.’

‘There is this call for justice in Black and brown communities, an explosion of not just sympathy but solidarity across the board,’ Gaspard said. ‘So, it’s time to double down. And we understood we can place a bet on these activists – Black and white – who see this as a moment of not just incrementalism, but whole-scale reform.’

Open Society Foundations joins a number of other foundations who have pledged funds to racial justice causes in the wake of protests for George Floyd, including a recent increase of $48 million in grantmaking by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for programmes focusing on racial equity, democracy education, and climate initiatives.

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