Investor George Soros has transferred about $18 billion, the majority of his estimated fortune, to his Open Society Foundations, making them the second largest philanthropic grant-making group in the United States, according to media reports on Tuesday.
- Rosh Hashanah as the battle of Netanyahu vs. Soros
- Republican congressman floats conspiracy that George Soros funded neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville
- Hungary's Orban to reportedly set Soros as key campaign issue
The foundations already controlled billions of dollars, but Soros, 87, has in recent years increased the pace of transfers from his hedge fund-turned-family office, Soros Fund Management LLC, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported earlier on Tuesday, citing Open Society officials.
Representatives for Open Society did not respond to requests for comment.
Open Society works globally to “build vibrant and tolerant democracies” and has given away nearly $14 billion since inception in 1979, according to its website.
Hungarian-born Soros, who made a huge profit betting against an overvalued British pound in 1992, is a vocal supporter of liberal causes and was a large contributor to the fund-raising Super PAC group backing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton last year.
Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to Hungary this past September was marred by controversy centered on a campaign vilifying the Jewish billionaire – one that Hungarian Jews say has stirred up concerning levels of anti-Semitism in Hungary.
After the Israeli embassy issued a condemnation of the campaign, Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to issue a clarification, saying Soros "has continuously undermined democratically elected Israeli governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state."
George Soros returned to Israeli headlines when the prime minister's son Yair Netanyahu posted a meme on Facebook laden with anti-Semitic imagery, featuring a photo of Soros dangling the world in front of a reptilian creature.
Soros early this year hired former UBS Group AG asset management executive Dawn Fitzpatrick to serve as the latest chief investment officer for New York-based Soros Fund Management, which also manages money for Open Society.
Only the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is now larger than Open Society among U.S. grant-making groups, with an endowment of about $40 billion.
Soros is worth an estimated $23 billion, according to Forbes.