The Open Society Foundations, the progressive philanthropic group founded and led by billionaire George Soros, announced on Monday that it will donate $220 million over the next five years in support of organizations that promote racial equality in the United States.
Out of that sum, $150 million will be directed towards what the foundation described as “Black-led justice organizations that helped to create and now sustain the momentum towards racial equality.” The other $70 million will be invested in a set of other priorities, among them “support for ongoing efforts to fight voter suppression and disinformation and ensure safe and secure elections in the midst of the pandemic,” and “nurturing civic engagement among young people,” according to a statement by the foundation.
These donations could impact the November 2020 election presidential in that access to voting among young people and minorities is expected to be an important factor.
The New York Times, which first reported on the Open Society’s donation, described it as “a huge financial undertaking that will support several Black-led racial justice groups for years to come.” Soros has donated previously to causes of racial equality and criminal justice reform in the United Stats, but Monday’s announcement could make the Jewish billionaire the largest single donor to groups fighting for racial justice.
Open Society said in a statement that among the organizations that will be supported by this decision are the groups “Black Voters Matter” which encourages voter registration and participation in the African American community, and “Circle for Justice Innovations”, a leading group on the issue of criminal justice reform and ending mass incarceration. Alex Soros, the billionaire’s son and the deputy chair of Open Society, said in a statement that “this is the time for urgent and bold action to address racial injustice in America.”
Soros said earlier this year that Facebook is “conspiring” to re-elect U.S. President Donald Trump and accused the social media company of allowing hate speech to flourish on its platform. He has become a source of obsession for right-wing extremists in the U.S. and Europe, in addition to those promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories concerning his wealth and support for progressive causes abroad. One of the chief promoters of those conspiracy theories has been Hungarian President Viktor Orban.