Open Society Foundations

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Open Society Foundations
Open Society Institute (logo).jpg
FoundedApril 1993; 25 years ago (1993-04)
FounderGeorge Soros
Location
Key people
Endowment$19,590,570,302[1]
Websitewww.opensocietyfoundations.org

Open Society Foundations (OSF), formerly the Open Society Institute, is an international grantmaking network founded by business magnate George Soros.[2] Open Society Foundations financially support civil society groups around the world, with a stated aim of advancing justice, education, public health and independent media.[3][4] The group's name is inspired by Karl Popper's 1945 book The Open Society and Its Enemies.[5]

The OSF has branches in 37 countries,[6] encompassing a group of country and regional foundations, such as the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa; its headquarters are in New York City. In 2018, OSF announced it was closing its European office in Budapest and moving to Berlin, in response to legislation passed by the Hungarian Government targeting the foundation's activities.[7] Since its establishment in 1993, OSF has reported expenditures in excess of $11 billion mostly in grants towards NGOs, aligned with the organisation's mission.[8]

History[edit]

On May 28, 1984, Soros signed a contract between the Soros Foundation (New York) and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the founding document of the Soros Foundation Budapest.[9] This was followed by several foundations in the region to help countries move away from communism.[10]

In 1991 the foundation merged with the Fondation pour une Entraide Intellectuelle Européenne, an affiliate of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, created in 1966 to imbue 'non-conformist' Eastern European scientists with anti-totalitarian and capitalist ideas.[11]

Open Society Institute was created in the United States in 1993 to support the Soros foundations in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.[6]

In August 2010, it started using the name Open Society Foundations (OSF) to better reflect its role as a benefactor for civil society groups in countries around the world.[12]

Soros believes there can be no absolute answers to political questions because the same principle of reflexivity applies as in financial markets.[13]

In 2012, Christopher Stone joined the OSF as the second president. He replaced Aryeh Neier, who served as president from 1993 to 2012.[14] Stone announced in September 2017 that he was stepping down as president.[15] In January 2018, Patrick Gaspard was appointed president of the Open Society Foundations.[16]

In 2016, the OSF was reportedly the target of a cyber security breach. Documents and information reportedly belonging to the OSF were published by a website. The cyber security breach has been described as sharing similarities with Russian-linked cyberattacks that targeted other institutions, such as the Democratic National Committee.[17]

In 2017, Soros transferred $18 billion to the Foundation.[18]

Activities[edit]

George Soros at a talk in Malaysia

The Open Society Foundations reported annual expenditures of $827 million in 2014.[19] Its $873 million budget in 2013, ranked as the second largest private philanthropy budget in the United States, after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation budget of $3.9 billion.[20]

According to the foundations' website, 1993–2014 expenditures included:[19]

Expenditures in 2014 included:[19]

  • $277.3 million - Rights and Justice
  • $238.0 million - Governance and Accountability
  • $116.0 million - Administration
  • $91.7 million - Education and Youth
  • $60.0 million - Health
  • $43.8 million - Media and Information.

Within these totals, OSF reported granting at least $33 million to civil rights and social justice organizations in the United States.[21] This funding included groups such as the Organization for Black Struggle and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment that supported protests in the wake of the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the death of Eric Garner, the shooting of Tamir Rice and the shooting of Michael Brown.[22][23][24] According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the OSF spends much of its resources on democratic causes around the world, and has also contributed to groups such as the Tides Foundation.[25]

OSF has been a major financial supporter of U.S. immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.[26]

OSF projects have included the National Security and Human Rights Campaign and the Lindesmith Center, which conducted research on drug reform.[3]

The Library of Congress Soros Foundation Visiting Fellows Program was initiated in 1990.[27][28]

Reception and influence[edit]

In 2007, Nicolas Guilhot (a senior research associate of CNRS) wrote in Critical Sociology that the Open Society Foundations serve to perpetuate institutions that reinforce the existing social order, as the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation have done before them. Guilhot argues that control over the social sciences by moneyed interests has depoliticized this field and reinforced a capitalist view of modernization.[29]

An OSF effort in 2008 in the African Great Lakes region aimed at spreading human rights awareness among prostitutes in Uganda and other nations in the area was not received well by the Ugandan authorities, who considered it an effort to legalize and legitimize prostitution.[30]

Open Society Foundation has been criticized in pro-Israel editorials, Tablet Magazine, Arutz Sheva and Jewish Press, for including funding for the activist groups Adalah and I'lam, which they say are anti-Israel and support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Among the documents released by DCleaks, an OSF report reads "For a variety of reasons, we wanted to construct a diversified portfolio of grants dealing with Israel and Palestine, funding both Israeli Jewish and PCI (Palestinian Citizens of Israel) groups as well as building a portfolio of Palestinian grants and in all cases to maintain a low profile and relative distance—particularly on the advocacy front."[31][32][33]

NGO Monitor, an Israeli NGO, produced a report which says, "Soros has been a frequent critic of Israeli government policy, and does not consider himself a Zionist, but there is no evidence that he or his family holds any special hostility or opposition to the existence of the state of Israel. This report will show that their support, and that of the Open Society Foundation, has nevertheless gone to organizations with such agendas." The report says its objective is to inform OSF, claiming: "The evidence demonstrates that Open Society funding contributes significantly to anti-Israel campaigns in three important respects:

  1. Active in the Durban strategy;
  2. Funding aimed at weakening United States support for Israel by shifting public opinion regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran;
  3. Funding for Israeli political opposition groups on the fringes of Israeli society, which use the rhetoric of human rights to advocate for marginal political goals."

The report concludes, "Yet, to what degree Soros, his family, and the Open Society Foundation are aware of the cumulative impact on Israel and of the political warfare conducted by many of their beneficiaries is an open question."[34]

In 2015, Russia banned the activities of the Open Society Foundations on its territory, declaring "It was found that the activity of the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation represents a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and the security of the state".[35]

In 2017, Open Society Foundations and other NGOs that promote open government and help refugees have been targeted for crackdowns by authoritarian governments who have been emboldened by encouraging signals from the Trump Administration. Several politicians in eastern Europe, including Liviu Dragnea in Romania and typically right-wing figures Szilard Nemeth in Hungary, Macedonia's Nikola Gruevski, who called for a "de-Sorosization" of society, and Poland's Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who has said that Soros-funded groups want "societies without identity", regard many of the NGO groups to be irritants at best, and threats at worst.[36] Some of those Soros-funded advocacy groups in the region say the renewed attacks are harassment and intimidation, which became more open after the election of Donald Trump in the United States. Stefania Kapronczay of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, which receives half of its funding from Soros-backed foundations, claims that Hungarian officials are "testing the waters" in an effort to see "what they can get away with."[36]

In May 2018, Open Society Foundations announced they will move its office from Budapest to Berlin, amid Hungarian government interference.[37][38][39]

In November 2018, Open Society Foundations announced they are ceasing operations in Turkey and closing their İstanbul and Ankara offices due to "false accusations and speculations beyond measure", amid pressure from Turkish government and governmental interference through detainment of Turkish intellectuals and liberal academics claimed to be associated with the foundation and related NGOs, associations and programmes.[40][41][42]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "IRS Form 990 2013" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  2. ^ Duszak, Alexandra (December 21, 2012). "Donor profile: George Soros". Center for Public Integrity. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Harvey, Kerric (2013). Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics. SAGE Publications. p. 919. ISBN 9781483389004.
  4. ^ "Open Society Foundation mission and values", OSI, Soros, September 6, 2012.
  5. ^ de Cock, Christian; Böhm, Steffen (2007), "Liberalist Fantasies: Žižek and the Impossibility of the Open Society", Organization, 14 (6): 815–836, doi:10.1177/1350508407082264, archived from the original on February 16, 2013, retrieved October 26, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Callahan, David (September 14, 2015). "Philanthropy vs. Tyranny: Inside the Open Society Foundations' Biggest Battle Yet". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  7. ^ "The Open Society Foundations to Close International Operations in Budapest". Open Society Foundations. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  8. ^ "Expenditures". Open Society Foundations. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  9. ^ Tény, Nóvé Béla, Soros (PDF), HU: KKA.
  10. ^ Hoduski-Abbott, Bernadine E., Lobbying for Libraries and the Public's Access to Government Information, Lanham: Scarecrow, 2003. p. 75
  11. ^ GUILHOT, NICOLAS (January 1, 2006). "A NETWORK OF INFLUENTIAL FRIENDSHIPS: THE FONDATION POUR UNE ENTRAIDE INTELLECTUELLE EUROPÉENNE AND EAST-WEST CULTURAL DIALOGUE, 1957-1991". Minerva. 44 (4): 379–409. JSTOR 41821373. (Subscription required (help)). – via ScienceDirect (Subscription may be required or content may be available in libraries.)
  12. ^ Schrier, H. Edward (2013). THE BATTLE OF THE THREE WILLS: as it relates to good & evil. Author House. p. 338. ISBN 9781481758765.
  13. ^ Soros on Soros John Wiley, ISBN 978-0-471-11977-7
  14. ^ "Criminal Justice Expert Named to Lead Soros Foundations". The New York Times. December 11, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  15. ^ "What Just Happened at the Open Society Foundations? And What Comes Next?". Inside Philanthropy. September 14, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  16. ^ "Patrick Gaspard Named President of the Open Society Foundations". Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  17. ^ Riley, Michael (August 11, 2016). "Russian Hackers of DNC Said to Nab Secrets From NATO, Soros". Bloomberg. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  18. ^ Chung, Juliet; Das, Anupreeta (October 17, 2017). "George Soros Transfers $18 Billion to His Foundation, Creating an Instant Giant". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  19. ^ a b c "About Us: Expenditures". Open Society Foundations. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  20. ^ Orlina, Ezekiel Carlo; Ramos-Caraig, Dorcas Juliette (March 6, 2015). "Top philanthropic foundations: A primer". Devex. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  21. ^ Collins, Ben (August 19, 2015). "No, George Soros Didn't Give $33 Million to #BlackLivesMatter". The Daily Beast. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  22. ^ Ferguson Inc. — The city's protest movement tries to find a path forward; Politico; March 4, 2015
  23. ^ Riot Act;Snopes; January 17, 2015
  24. ^ Riddell, Kelley (January 4, 2015). "George Soros funds Ferguson protests, hopes to spur civil action". Washington Times. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  25. ^ MacColl, Spencer (September 21, 2010). "Capital Rivals: Koch Brothers vs. George Soros". Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  26. ^ Preston, Julia (November 14, 2014). "The Big Money Behind the Push for an Immigration Overhaul". New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  27. ^ Hoduski-Abbott, Bernadine E., Lobbying for Libraries and the Public's Access to Government Information, Lanham: Scarecrow, 2003. p. 76
  28. ^ Kranich, Nancy (2001). Libraries & Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty. American Library Association. p. 186. ISBN 9780838908082.
  29. ^ Guilhot, Nicolas (May 2007). "Reforming the World: George Soros, Global Capitalism and the Philanthropic Management of the Social Sciences". Critical Sociology. 33 (3): 447–477. doi:10.1163/156916307X188988. Archived from the original on April 7, 2015. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  30. ^ "Uganda prostitute workshop banned". BBC. March 25, 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  31. ^ Soros Hack Reveals Evidence of Systemic Anti-Israel Bias; Liel Leibovitz; August 14, 2016; Tablet Magazine
  32. ^ DC Leaks Publishes George Soros’ Files Showing Millions Contributed to Anti-Israel Causes Jewish Press; David Israel; Published: August 14, 2016
  33. ^ George Soros hacked, documents posted online Rachel Kaplan, 14/08/16
  34. ^ Bad Investment: The Philanthropy of George Soros and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: How Soros-funded Groups Increase Tensions in a Troubled Region, Alexander H. Joffe, Professor Gerald M. Steinberg, May 1, 2013
  35. ^ Reuters. Russia bans George Soros foundation as state security 'threat'. November 30, 2015.
  36. ^ a b "After Trump Win, Anti-Soros Forces Are Emboldened in Eastern Europe". The New York Times. March 1, 2017. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  37. ^ "George Soros foundation to close office in 'repressive' Hungary | News | al Jazeera".
  38. ^ "Soros foundation to leave Hungary". BBC News. May 15, 2018.
  39. ^ Agency, Reuters News (May 15, 2018). "Soros foundation to close office in Budapest over Hungarian government's 'repressive' policies". The Telegraph.
  40. ^ "Açık Toplum Vakfı Türkiye'deki faaliyetlerini sonlandırıyor". Deutsche Welle Türkçe. 26 November 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  41. ^ https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/11/soros-foundation-close-turkey-bashed-erdogan-181127061557606.html
  42. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/nov/26/george-soross-open-society-foundation-to-pull-out-of-turkey

Further reading[edit]

  • Carothers, Thomas (1999), Aiding Democracy Abroad: The Learning Curve, Washington DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
  • Krizsán, Andrea; Zentai, Viola, eds. (2003), Reshaping Globalization: Multilateral Dialogues and New Policy Initiatives, Budapest: Central European University Press.
  • Miniter, Richard (September 9, 2011), "Should George Soros be allowed to buy US foreign policy?", Forbes, Soros, through foundations and his Open Society Institutes, pours some $500 million per year into organizations in the former Soviet world... And Soros gets results. Through strategic donations, Soros helped bring down the communist government in Poland, toppled Serbia's bloodstained strongman Slobodan Milosevic, and fueled the "Rose Revolution" in Georgia. Soros has also funded opposition parties in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Croatia, Georgia, and Macedonia, helping them into either power or prominence. All of these countries were once Russian allies..
  • Palley, Thomas (2003), "The Open Institute and Global Social Policy", Global Social Policy, 3 (1): 17–18, doi:10.1177/1468018103003001312.
  • Roelofs, Joan (2003), Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism, Albany: SUNY.
  • Stone, Diane (2010), Transnational Philanthropy or Policy Transfer? The Transnational Norms of the Open Society Institute, Policy and Politics, 38 (2), pp. 269–87.
  • Diane Stone Knowledge actors and transnational governance: The private-public policy nexus in the global agora, Palgrave Mcmillan 2013
  • Stone, Diane (July 2007), "Market Principles, Philanthropic Ideals and Public Service Values: The Public Policy Program at the Central European University", PS: Political Science and Politics: 545–51.
  • Peizer, Jonathan (2005), "The Internet Program: Web Surfing a Revolution", The Dynamics of Technology for Social Change, Ingram Book Group, pp. 1–26.

External links[edit]