George Soros, doing what he can for the Public Good
Contributing upwards of $12 billion, George Soros is one of the world’s foremost philanthropist to date. His main area of focus with his contributions is to promote democracy and democratic ideals around the world. His donations support organizations and individuals in the fight for freedom of expression, government accountability, transparency and the promotion of justice and equality in the society. He fights against discrimination based on who people are. His donations have supported people sidelined by mainstream society including sex workers, drug addicts, and LGBTI people. With a net worth in the region of $25.2 billion, most of his contributions to various institutions and groups like the Roma people in Europe go through Open Society offices. He is president of Soro’s Open Society Foundation which supports organizations and individuals whose ideals and goals are in line with the goals of his foundation.
Born in Jewish family George Soros has had to experience intolerance firsthand. He was born in Hungary, 1930 and had to live through the Nazi occupation of Hungary in 1944-1945 which ended with the killing of over half a million Hungarian Jews. After the Battle of Budapest in World War 2 Soros immigrated to London where he worked as a railway porter and night-club waiter part time to pay for his schooling at the London School of Economics. He moved across the sea in 1956 to New York where he worked his way up from a trader and analyst to vice president and fund manager to make his own billions. He started the Soros Fund Management in 1973 and went to become one the world’s most successful investors. Read more on nytimes.com
When Soros launched his first foundation outside of the U.S. in Hungary in 1984 his aim was to weaken authoritarian regimes and make a transition towards economy by promoting the free flow of ideas and information. He spent a major part of the fund’s resources to distribute photocopiers to libraries, civil society groups, and universities. Promoting higher education is a major part of increasing the reach of democracy and democratic ideals since it leads to a generation of free thinkers. On this basis, Soros’s foundation has given grants and supported talks on issues such as freedom of information and media and the war against corruption. George Soros has personally substantially contributed to organizations that support democratic politics such as MoveOn.org.
After the end of the Cold War Soros expanded his philanthropic efforts to the United States, Asia, and Africa. He contributed $5 million dollars to both International Crisis group and UNICEF and $4 million dollars to the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut.
George Soros has been quoted as saying that his goal is to harness the innovations that are only available in the private sector for the good of the public. Read this story at Politico about George Soros.