International financier George Soros has given away an estimated $32 billion of his personal wealthy to charities. It’s an astonishing number for one man, even for one of the richest men in the world. But what’s even more remarkable is that the generosity of George Soros has earned him his share of enemies.
What makes the philanthropy of George Soros controversial is the view by those on the radical political right that the organizations and groups he supports are “on the left.” For example, he often supports political candidates in the United States that are Democrats, or those groups traditionally associated with liberal views.
Bur for George Soros, the money he gives is simply for people who have not been given a fair shake by society. Oppressed minorities, people living in poverty, refugees fleeing war-torn countries or those who have been excluded from opportunity – such as higher education because of their ethnic background — are examples of those he wants to help.
He has also focused his efforts on groups that have endured particularly vicious forms of discrimination, such as the Roma people of Europe, the LGBTI community, drug abusers and sex workers. When few others are willing to offer members of these demographics a helping hand, George Soros has brought help and hope.
All of these groups might easily be viewed as apolitical – but in our real world of divided politics and deeply embedded party tribalism — the charitable efforts of a concerned billionaire can quickly be branded as “left wing” or radical.
George Soros established the Open Society Foundations almost a quarter of a century ago. This is an umbrella organization for a variety of entities that work on the issues that are close to Soros’ heart. He recently announced that he is giving as additional $18 billion to Open Society. This follows the estimated $11 billion the organization has already expended during its years of operation.
George Soros was born in 1930 in Hungary. As a Jew living in a Europe that would soon be ravaged by World War II, Soros experienced first-hand the deplorable persecution of Nazi Germany after its troops invaded his Hungarian homeland.
Soros fled to England as a teenager where is was able to complete a first-class education at the prestigious London School of Economics. After working a variety of jobs, Soros entered the field of banking, gaining experience in the world of finance. He then established his first hedge fund. In this field, he earned millions of dollars beginning in the early 1970s. He would eventually become one of the richest men in the world.
Soros has always felt an obligation to use his fortune for those who struggle with little or nothing at the bottom of our world’s various economic systems, governments and social institutions. He has helped uncounted millions of people lead better lives, and almost certainly saved lives in those cases where his programs have brought aid to famines, wars and locations of violent political oppression.
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