In 1984 George Soros founded the first Open Society Institute in Hungary. This one institute quickly grew into an international force of philanthropy known as the Open Society Foundations In October 2017 the New York Times and Forbes announced that Soros had made a donation of $18 billion to these Open Society Foundations in a series of incremental payments occurring during the previous few years.
This donation will allow the Open Society Institutes to continue and expand their operations for the next several years. In the 1980’s and 1990’s the Open Society Foundations worked in Central and Eastern Europe to rebuild nations that had previously been under Soviet rule. Soros is also celebrated as a pivotal role in the Rose Revolution, a non-violent exchange of power from communism to democracy in Georgia in 2003.
Through the Open Society Institutes, George Soros also funds other projects, like his Millennium Promise. The Millennium Promise, with an initial donation of $50 million, works tirelessly throughout the continent of Africa, reducing extreme poverty by providing people with medical care, modern education, and advanced sustainable agricultural methods. Soros also funds the Open Society Initiative for South Africa. Godfrey Kanyenze, the director of the Zimbabwe branch of this organization, credits it as the main force behind the Movement for Democratic Change, a movement that wants to see democracy enacted in the country.
Soros is also politically active. He was one of the first donors to support the Center for American Progress. He also financially backed fundraiser group: Democracy Alliance which strives to promote the spread of progressive ideas and infrastructure in America. In 2009 Soros gave $35 million to the state of New York, wanting the money to be used to fund programs that assist impoverished families and children. The state, using the money it had received from the Federal Recovery Act of 2009, offered an additional $140 million to the program.
George Soros got his start in the business world at Singer and Friedlander, a respected merchant bank in London. He moved to America in 1956 to begin working for the American firm F.M. Mayer. His value as a specialist in the recently popular European Stock Market was very apparent, and in 1959 he was hired by Wertheim & Co. before becoming vice president of Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder in 1963.
Soros left Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder in 1973 so that he could focus on Soros Fund Management, which he had started in 1970. In 1991 he expanded his fortune greatly by correctly predicting a fall in the value of the British Pound and shorting the market. His recent and largest donation of $18 billion will allow the Open Society Foundations to continue their work for many years.
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