When it comes to philanthropists, now and in the past, many of you will think of such people as Warren Buffet or Bill Gates. However, one of the greatest philanthropists you probably have never heard of is George Soros. George has spent the last 30 years helping people that have been getting the short end of the stick for a long time, such as drug users, sex workers, the LGBTI community to name a few.
George himself knows what it was like to be marginalized and discriminated against. Born in Hungary in 1930 he lived through the Nazi occupation and the murder of nearly a half million Hungarian Jews. He and his own family managed to survive using false identity documents and background information. They helped many other Jewish families do the same. George said that they refused to give in to the Nazi fate for the Jewish people and resisted any way they could.
When the war ended and Eastern Europe was divided up, Hungary was occupied by the Russians and ultimately became part of the Soviet Union. George Soros was able to immigrate to London in 1947. In London, he worked as a railroad porter and a waiter, in order to pay for his college education at the London School of Economics. Following college, he emigrated to the U.S. where he began his work in the world of high finance. Being an astute businessman and investor, he was well on his way to making his fortune. Learn more about George at Biography.com
He began his own hedge fund in 1970 whereby he parlayed his investments into a personal fortune. He then used his fortune to start the “Open Society Foundation”. This compilation of foundations, throughout the world, espouses his philosophy that societies can only flourish when they provide for democratic governance which includes freedom of expression and respect for individual rights.
In the late 1970’s he really began his philanthropy by giving scholarships to many black students in the apartheid driven country of South Africa. Since then, his foundation has continued to empower young people by funding efforts to provide for access to quality education around the world.
All of the Open Society Foundations are dedicated to fostering democracies that are accountable to their citizens. To do this they focus on the open society issues and concerns relevant to individual regions and countries around the globe.
To date, he has given away over twelve billion dollars to organizations that fight for his belief in freedom and justice for all.
Visit Project Syndicate to learn more about George.