Disclosed last week, George Soros gifted $18 billion dollars to his Open Society Foundations. The foundation’s founder and chairman has now made one of the largest transfers of wealth ever, by a private donor to a single foundation.
Mr. Soros has plans to give an additional $2 billion in the coming years.
Over the past several years, Open Society Foundations’ founder and chairman, George Soros, has been transferring funds towards the organization, allowing for the growth an expansion of the foundation’s scope in promoting democracy and human rights across more than 120 countries.
Founded in 1979, the Open Society Foundations has been working to build ‘vibrant and tolerant societies’ with governments that are accountable and open to the participation of all people.
Today, the foundation is the second largest in the United States, topped only by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
According to Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, ‘There is no foundation in the world, including the Ford Foundation, that has had more impact around the world than the Open Society Foundations in the last two decades, because there is no part of the world that they have not been.’
For decades, he has funded the foundation with annual gifts typically between $800 million and $900 million. Recently, however, his contributions have been given more urgency.
Patrick Gaspard, the Open Society Foundation’s incoming president, commented on Open Society’s current direction: ‘Since its inception, the Open Society Foundations has worked with leaders in civil society, whether they are the Roma in Eastern Europe or African-Americans in Cleveland, Ohio, who continue to be subject to a second-class form of justice.’
The foundation has had a strong focus on human rights, dignity, and the rule of law around the world for many years. Open Society Foundations has shifted focus recently, increasing attention on the United States,including investing in programs to protect LGBTQ citizens and to reduce tensions between civilians and the police, in response to what they described as ‘a national wave of hate crimes.’
Mr. Soros has committed $10 million to prevent such violence in 2016, commenting ‘We must do something to push back against what’s happening here.’
Mr. Soros will certainly be in the spotlight of both social and political debates for years to come, says Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. ‘He has been so transparent about his views, so we know where he stands on these issues. This is going to fuel as much happiness as it is controversy.’
For more information, visit the Open Society Foundations website.