Philanthropists are often defined as wealthy people with a generous nature, and a genuine concern for human welfare and the definition applies to George Soros in the truest sense of the word. George Soros, the founder of Open Society Foundation (OSF), is one of the world’s leading philanthropists. He was valued at $23 million by Forbes and is hailed as a legendary hedge fund manager. Soros has done plenty over the years to earn the reputation he has today. From founding the Central European University after the fall of the Berlin Wall to providing black South Africans under apartheid with scholarships and championing same-sex marriages, he has lent years of his life to passionately supporting left-wing political positions. The Open Society Foundation has spent over $14 billion since the 1980s combating authoritarianism, promoting human rights and supporting marginalized groups in over 100 countries. However, Soros’ aggressive brand of philanthropy has attracted a lot of attention over time.
The definition of a “philanthropist” has been demonized over time to imply that they preach egalitarian values while ignoring the needs of the common people. Soros has been accused of being a part of a group of “radical infiltrators” who were “quietly transforming America’s social, cultural and political institutions” by the right-wing media. Vladimir Putin, after the “colder revolutions” in Ukraine in 2003 and 2004, suggested that the uprisings had been orchestrated by Soros due to a lot of his NGOs being involved which gave way to more authoritarian leaders from Romania and Macedonia voicing similar claims. Recently, Hungaria’s PM, Viktor Orban, tried to pass legislation which was meant to shut down Central European University and had the nation’s spy agencies investigate a supposed “Soros empire that seeks to undermine Hungaria’s Christian culture.” However, in spite of the conspiracy theories and accusations, Soros has continued to support the causes he believes in. He reportedly donated more than $6 million to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and had shown support for a liberal immigration policy in Europe as a response to the refugee crisis. Recently, he went above and beyond when OSF announced Soros had donated $18 billion of his wealth to them, making them the second largest charity after Bill Gates’ foundation. Soros plans on donating $2 billion more over the next few years, too. A colossal donation of this magnitude will allow OSF to support marginalized and underprivileged people on a global scale – for instance, OSF has operations in Asia where they provide material aid to people. This donation will allow for the foundation to reach out and donate to multiple groups in Asia where they can advance concepts such as justice, democracy, and human rights.
While the definition of a “philanthropist” may carry some negative connotations, George Soros is proof of the fact that philanthropy does not ignore the needs of the poor and the oppressed and this donation will see OSF’s budget rise which enables them to move forward with more causes support around the globe. Soros has truly made history and a difference with this act. According to his website, Soros wrote “My success in the financial markets has given me a greater degree of independence than most other people. This allows me to take a stand on controversial issues: In fact, it obliges me to do so because others cannot.”