The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.

About Us

George Soros

Founder / Chairman

Investor and philanthropist George Soros established the Open Society Foundations to help countries make the transition from communism.

Christopher Stone

President

Christopher Stone is the president of the Open Society Foundations. He is an international expert on criminal justice reform and on the leadership and governance of nonprofits.

Mission & Values

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. 

History

The Open Society Foundations, which began 1979, remain today committed to the global struggle for open society and responding quickly to the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Programs

The Open Society Foundations fund a range of programs around the world, from public health to education to business development.

Offices & Foundations

The Open Society Foundations are a family of offices and foundations created by philanthropist George Soros. This directory includes our offices and country and regional foundations located throughout the world.

Expenditures

Over the last 30 years, the Open Society Foundations had expenditures of more than $10 billion. Much of this spending has been directed at specific priority issues and regions for the Open Society Foundations.

Timeline

This timeline highlights important achievements of the Open Society Foundations from the beginnings in 1979 to the present, covering work in rights and justice, health, governance and accountability, media and information, and education and youth.

  1. 1970s
    1. Police with dogs push back demonstrators. Guguletu Township, South Africa, 1976. © Associated Press

      1979: Starting to build an open world

      George Soros begins his philanthropy. His great success as a hedge fund manager allows him to support scholarships for black students at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. “I hoped to play a small role in helping to build a black elite,” he says later. “I still think the creation of elites among persecuted people is the most effective way to overcome prejudice.” He also gives scholarships to Eastern European dissidents to study abroad and support for dissident organizations such as Poland’s Solidarity and Charta 77 activists in Czechoslovakia. His ambition is to establish open societies in place of authoritarian forms of government. “Open society is based on the recognition that our understanding of the world is inherently imperfect,” Soros says. “What is imperfect can be improved.”

  2. 1980s
    1. Protest for more democracy and free elections. Budapest, Hungary, 1989. © Udo Weitz | Associated Press

      1984: Opening up information behind the Iron Curtain

      Soros establishes his first non-U.S. foundation in Hungary. His signature move is to distribute photocopiers to universities, libraries, and civil society groups, breaking the communist party’s grip over information. The new machines open the floodgates of dissent. In the coming years, Soros’s Open Society Foundations expand people’s access to information with support for independent media and Internet connectivity in Eastern Europe, Russia, and elsewhere.

    2. Students protest on Tiananmen Square. Beijing, China, 1989. © Stuart Franklin | Magnum Photos

      1986: Persevering in attempts to work in China

      China becomes the site for Soros’s second foundation outside the United States. The government’s secret police infiltrate the foundation’s activities, and the foundation closes in 1989, the same year as the government’s brutal crushing of dissent in Tiananmen Square. In the early 2000s, the Open Society Foundations begin again in China with support for public defender services, fellowships for journalists, and advocacy for HIV and AIDS programs.

    3. Breaking through the Berlin Wall. East Germany, 1989. © Lionel Cironneau | Associated Press

      1989: Contributing to the collapse of communism

      By the fall of the Berlin Wall, Soros has established two more foundations, in Poland and Russia. As communism collapses in country after country, Soros moves quickly to seize the revolutionary moment and foster open society throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Over the next five years, Open Society foundations are created in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, the Baltic states, Albania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. “The collapse of a closed society does not automatically lead to the creation of an open society,” Soros says. “Freedom is not merely the absence of repression.”

  3. 1990s
    1. 1991: Teaching future leaders open society values

      To help train a new generation of political and economic leaders, Soros founds the Central European University as a center of research and policy analysis that promotes the principles of open, democratic societies. By 2010, CEU, with an endowment of about $800 million, has educated well over 5,000 students from all over the world, mostly on full scholarships. The Open Society Foundations pursue the reform of higher education across Eastern Europe and beyond, advancing progressive humanities and social sciences teaching through support for new programs and departments as well as fellowships. Support for education programs, from early childhood to university, accounts for as much as half of the Foundations’ annual program expenditures.

    2. Collecting water in besieged Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1993. © Beka Vuco | Open Society Foundations

      1993: Helping Sarajevo and South Eastern Europe survive

      With Sarajevo under siege, the Open Society Foundations send disaster relief specialist Fred Cuny into the city to help restore vital services. Cuny and his construction crews brave sniper fire and artillery shells to connect residents to gas lines, electricity, and drinking water. The Foundations provide tens of millions of dollars for humanitarian aid and relief efforts during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Two years later the Bosnia foundation’s executive director writes: “Conditions are still far from normal, but to be able to work without grenades and snipers, with almost regular supplies of energy, and with the ability to move around free of checkpoints is something of a dream.” From 1994 through 2009, the Open Society Foundations spend $330 million in the countries of the former Yugoslavia to promote peace and tolerance, the rule of law, independent media, human rights, and democratic values.

    3. 1993: the Open Society Institute

      George Soros establishes the Open Society Institute to support and oversee his foundations network and promote the development of open societies around the world. Aryeh Neier joins as president after heading Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union. He brings an expertise in human rights, a drive to fight for justice, and experience running large, widespread organizations. Neier takes on the leadership of an expanding network of foundations whose expenditures by 1994 top $300 million, compared to less than $3 million in 1985. Years later Neier says the Open Society Foundations are an important part of his life’s work because there is no other organization through which he has had a greater capacity to address issues that matter to him. During this expansion, the Foundations become known for their ability to respond rapidly with innovative programs to changing conditions.

    4. Presidential election campaign rally for Nelson Mandela. South Africa, 1994. © David Brauchli | Associated Press

      1993: Nurturing democracy in postapartheid South Africa

      The Open Society Foundations in South Africa focus on the challenge of helping reform a society that for decades excluded the majority of its people from the rights and opportunities enjoyed by the white ruling class. The reform efforts include support for a truth and reconciliation commission that contributes to the low incidence of violence during the transition to black majority rule. The Foundations spend over $100 million over the next 15 years to support reconciliation, law reform, education, public health, and independent media.

    5. An Easter picnic at the graves of relatives. Spring Valley, New York, 1997. © Bastienne Schmidt for the Open Society Foundations

      1994: Changing America’s views on death and drugs

      The Open Society Foundations Project on Death in America begins its work to improve care of the terminally ill and change the way people in the United States view death and dying. When the project ends nine years and $45 million later, its faculty scholars have trained thousands of doctors, palliative care programs exist in more than 50 percent of the nation’s teaching hospitals, and people no longer consider dying a taboo subject. A second program in the United States promotes harm reduction approaches to drug use and opposition to the ineffective U.S. war on drugs. Over the years, the Open Society Foundations efforts on palliative care and harm reduction expand to countries around the world.

    6. Aung San Suu Kyi addresses crowd outside her home. Rangoon, Burma, 2003. © Nic Dunlop | Panos Pictures

      1994: Joining the long struggle for democracy in Burma

      The Open Society Foundations’ Burma Project begins its work increasing international awareness of the repressive military regime in Burma and assisting Burmese refugees and dissidents abroad and in border areas. The junta, however, remains in power and for much of the next 15 years Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won free elections in 1990, is under house arrest. Bringing democracy to Burma is a long-term goal the Open Society Foundations continue to pursue with patient persistence.

    7. Science teacher in classroom. Russia, 1995. © James Hill | Contact Press Images

      1994: Keeping former Soviet scientists at home

      The Open Society Foundations dispense $100 million over 1994 and 1995 in an effort to keep the former Soviet Union’s outstanding (and often progressive) science establishment intact after the collapse of communism. Stipends to more than 26,000 scientists help prevent them from quitting science or leaving to practice elsewhere. More than $100 million goes to professors, teachers, and students in the next five years for excellence in science education in Russia, Georgia, and Ukraine.

    8. Nurcha housing development in Northern Province. South Africa, 2000.

      1995: Housing the poor in South Africa

      To help the fledgling majority-black government, the Open Society Foundations decide to support the building of low-cost housing for the three million and more people living in makeshift shacks and overcrowded city dwellings. With the government as a partner, Soros makes $50 million available to guarantee loans for construction. A new organization, Nurcha, runs the program. Fifteen years later, Nurcha has helped contractors build over 250,000 homes, housing more than a million people. It has provided loans for roads, drainage, clinics, schools, libraries. Eighty- five percent of its clients are black-owned companies.

    9. An 11-year-old arrested for shoplifting and sent to a detention facility. Laredo, Texas, 2003. © Steve Liss

      1996: Bringing the open society mission home to the USA

      The Open Society Foundations establish U.S. Programs to address threats to open society in the United States. Earlier efforts focused on improving end-of-life care and reforming drug policies. New programs include major efforts to change the fiercely punitive criminal justice system: after-prison initiatives, sentencing reform, death penalty abolition, and eliminating the system’s racial disparities. The Foundations begin challenging harsh immigration laws and practices, supporting groups working to protect the rights of immigrants and assist them in gaining U.S. citizenship. By 2010, U.S. Programs has spent over $1 billion to fix the flaws that exist in America’s open society.

    10. 1996: Supporting media through social investment

      After years of providing direct support to independent media, the Open Society Foundations recognize the need to build sustainable media businesses by helping establish the Media Development Loan Fund. The investment fund provides low-cost capital and technical know-how to independent news outlets in countries with a history of media oppression. By 2009, over 35 million people in developing democracies get their news from 36 fund clients. One client, Radio 68H in Indonesia, has expanded its reach via satellite and the Internet to cover more than 650 radio stations and 10 countries, and, after the tsunami in 2004, provided a critical service, rebuilding radio stations, airing updates on relief operations, and running a missing persons bulletin.

    11. Riding a freight train from Mexico to look for work in the United States. Mexico, 2000. © Don Bartletti | Los Angeles Times

      1996: Keeping Liberty’s flame burning for U.S. immigrants

      After welfare reform cuts off millions of immigrants from benefits, the Open Society Foundations establish the Emma Lazarus Fund with $50 million in funding to assist the naturalization process for eligible immigrants and support advocacy to show the unfairness of the welfare cuts. By the end of 1999, the Foundations have distributed support to organizations that helped more than 500,000 immigrants negotiate the naturalization process and brought the restoration of Supplemental Security Income and food stamps for the most eligible immigrants.

    12. A farewell to friends and families from migrant workers bound for Russia. Tajikistan, 2005. © Karen Robinson | Panos Pictures

      1997: Expanding open society work in Africa and Central Asia

      Regional initiatives for Southern Africa and later East and West Africa increase the Open Society Foundations’ presence in Africa, supporting activities from legal and economic reform to human rights and sharing a common goal of reducing poverty, HIV and AIDS, and political instability. In Central Asia, first in Uzbekistan and Mongolia and later Tajikistan, the Foundations bring attention to priority issues such as protecting the rights of migrants and ending violence against women.

    13. Hospital ward in Russian prison. Rostov na Donau, Russia, 1998. © John Ranard

      1997: Beginning the struggle against TB in Russia’s prisons

      By the mid-1990s, Russia’s overcrowded, squalid prisons hold about a million people, 100,000 of whom have active, infectious tuberculosis. The Open Society Foundations, seeking access to reform the criminal justice system that abuses human rights and fuels the epidemic, offers to help eradicate TB among Russia’s inmates and guards. The Foundations donate $12.3 million for a program to treat tuberculosis in the prisons, only to find that many of the TB cases are resistant to ordinary treatment protocols. The experience in Russia leads the Open Society Foundations to push for the development of a global plan to stop TB. By 2005, the first declines in the incidence of TB are recorded, but the number of multidrug- resistant TB cases increases.

    14. An after-school program filmmaking class. Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 2003. © Open Society Foundations, photographs by Joe Rubino

      1998: Focusing on Baltimore to treat society’s ills

      The Open Society Foundations select Baltimore as the U.S. city where by 2010 they will invest more than $60 million to address the most difficult urban social problems. The Foundations support projects that help boost reading and math test scores for public school students, expand after-school programs to more than 14,000 students, double the number of people receiving drug treatment and reduce the number of fatal overdoses, and increase the state’s parole grant rate to over 40 percent. With its comprehensive approach to the root causes of poverty and injustice, the Open Society Foundations become one of the city’s most visible and effective civil society groups.

    15. 1998: Keeping children busy and safe after school

      The growing problem of children who are left to fend for themselves after school until their working parents return home prompts the Open Society Foundations to create The After-School Corporation (TASC) in New York City with an initial five-year $125 million challenge grant. TASC partners with city agencies and local groups to promote sustainable universal after-school programs that increase children’s chances of succeeding in school. In its first decade, TASC supports more than 150 community organizations working in 325 public schools, helps more than 300,000 children, and raises four dollars for every one contributed by the Open Society Foundations.

    16. New York Urban Debate League awards ceremony. New York City, New York, USA, 1998. © Gigi Cohen

      1999: Promoting early childhood education and debate

      The International Step by Step Program and the International Debate Education Association, with continuing support from the Open Society Foundations, are established as independent organizations to advance early childhood education and school debate activities, increasing a child’s chances of success in school. Over 50,000 teachers and more than one million students have participated in Step by Step programs with some 100,000 students and more than 16,000 teachers in debate programs. Many of the students come from disadvantaged, minority communities. Urban debate programs are also a priority in the United States.

  4. 2000s
    1. Going to Friday prayers. © Ed Grazda

      2001: Fighting post-9/11 hostility toward Muslims

      The terror attacks of September 11, 2001, bring a new wave of hostility and violence toward immigrants in the United States, especially members of Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities. The Open Society Foundations spend the decade supporting efforts to protect their rights in court. In Europe, the Foundations report on Muslims living in 11 cities, showing how much residents feel a part of their communities despite the prejudice and discrimination they often face in employment and education.

    2. Oil fields in Baku, Azerbaijan, 1996. © Jason Eskenazi

      2001: Opening the books on natural resource revenues

      To curb corruption and ensure that citizens benefit from their nation’s natural wealth, the Open Society Foundations, inspired by the work of a few grantees, launch the Caspian Revenue Watch project. Five years later, the Foundations establish the Revenue Watch Institute to promote international efforts calling for the disclosure of payments that oil, gas, and mining companies make to governments, and to help citizens become effective monitors of government revenues and expenditures. Support for the Publish What You Pay coalition and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative contributes to a global movement for revenue and budget transparency in resource- rich countries.

    3. 2001: Partnering with Tifa to promote democracy in Indonesia

      The Open Society Foundations join Indonesian civil society to establish the Tifa Foundation to address the country’s problems, most notably the corruption that threatens every major institution. The Tifa Foundation develops anticorruption programs, monitors elections, coordinates NGO strategies to keep the military out of politics, and creates a coalition of migrant worker organizations. Toward the end of the decade, the Open Society Foundations increase their activities in Asia with the establishment of offices in Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight extremism and address the fallout from the war on terror.

    4. Child soldier biking back to base camp. Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2003. © Marcus Bleasdale | VII

      2002: Prosecuting crimes against humanity

      The establishment of the International Criminal Court, long supported by the Open Society Foundations, becomes a reality with more than 85 countries—but not the United States— ratifying the ICC to create the first permanent institution responsible for prosecuting genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The Open Society Justice Initiative assists and promotes efforts to try leaders for war crimes in tribunals for Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia as well as at the ICC. The Justice Initiative creates special websites to report on the proceedings at The Hague of the ICC’s first trial, against Thomas Lubanga, a former rebel leader in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone’s prosecution of the former Liberian president Charles Taylor. The websites let people in the affected countries follow the progress of the trials.

    5. Watching a parade marking Poland’s entry into the European Union. Slubice, Poland, 2004. © Sven Kaestner | Associated Press

      2004: Celebrating the expansion of the European Union

      Eight Eastern European countries that the Open Society Foundations helped transform into democracies—the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia—are accepted into the European Union. Two more, Romania and Bulgaria, join in 2007. The Open Society Foundations and the lure of EU membership helped transform these once closed societies into open societies, advancing human rights, liberalizing economic policies, increasing government accountability, and invigorating civil society. Other countries where the Open Society Foundations work wait to achieve EU candidacy status and admission.

    6. 2004: Closing the Uzbekistan foundation under government pressure

      The Uzbek government shuts down the foundation by revoking its registration. The foundation’s reform efforts, from governance to law to education to information technology, ran afoul of a repressive government that wanted to control all NGO activities. Earlier, in 1997, the Belarus foundation was similarly forced to close, falsely accused by officials of supporting opposition political parties. Over the years authoritarian regimes have attacked the Open Society Foundations for activities promoting human rights and access to information. Working without offices in Uzbekistan and Belarus, the Foundations continue to support civil society, including independent media, in both countries.

    7. A Roma elder describes community struggles to candidates for Roma health scholarships offered by the Foundations. Romania, 2008. © Open Society Foundations/Pamela Chen

      2005: Launching the Decade of Roma inclusion

      To improve the lives and advance the human rights of the Roma, Europe’s largest and most marginalized ethnic minority, the Open Society Foundations and the World Bank launch the Decade of Roma Inclusion, 2005–2015, with the participation of eight Eastern European governments. The Foundations are a leading supporter of Roma rights advocacy organizations and initiatives. Since the early 1990s, the Open Society Foundations have provided support for an unprecedented effort to combat discrimination against the Roma, halt their exclusion from society, and break the cycle of poverty that has entrapped them.

    8. Needle exchange van. St. Petersburg, Russia, 2007. © Lorena Ros for the Open Society Foundations

      2006: Reducing harm from drug use

      At the XVI International AIDS Conference, the Open Society Foundations continue raising the profile of key issues—such as harm reduction measures for drug users and sex worker health and rights—that are often neglected in HIV and AIDS policy discourse. To curb the spread of HIV and other infections among injecting drug users, the Foundations promote human rights and health services, leading a global movement in support of needle exchange, substitution therapy, and demand reduction.

    9. 2006: Bolstering Europe’s leadership as an open society

      The Open Society Foundations create the European Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank and advocacy organization, to strengthen the role of the European Union in promoting open society values within its borders and on the world stage. The Foundations recognize the need for Europe to fill the leadership vacuum resulting from the tarnishing of the United States’ reputation as an open society and champion of human rights.

    10. 2006: Recognizing the right to information

      The Inter-American Court of Human Rights becomes the first international tribunal to recognize access to government-held information as a basic human right. The eight-year-old case, in which the Open Society Foundations filed an amicus brief, involved the Chilean government’s refusal to provide information about the environmental record of a U.S. logging company. The work of the Foundations helps bring the total of countries with freedom of information laws to more than 80 by 2010.

    11. Preparing an injection for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Lesotho, 2007. © Open Society Foundations/photograph by Pep Bonet

      2007: Fighting multidrug-resistant TB in Africa

      In Lesotho, a small southern African country, at least 25 percent of the people are HIV-positive, and TB has infected about 90 percent of them, lowering life expectancy to 35 years. The Open Society Foundations award a $3 million grant to Partners In Health to help health care workers in Lesotho more effectively treat people infected with multidrug-resistant TB, a growing danger for people who are HIV-positive. The Lesotho work results in the release of new guidelines for the treatment of multidrug-resistant TB and the training of medical professionals from Ethiopia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Tanzania.

    12. Girls studying at a school for Roma children. Skopje, Macedonia, 1999. © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert for the Open Society Foundations

      2007: Litigating to end school segregation of Roma

      In a landmark decision, the European Court of Human Rights rules that segregating Roma students into special schools violates fundamental human rights. The decision, which involved Czech schools, ended an eight-year legal case brought by the European Roma Rights Center, an Open Society Foundations’ grantee, and argued by James Goldston, director of the Open Society Justice Initiative. The center’s research showed that over half of Roma children were shunted into schools for children with learning disabilities. Two years later, the Open Society Foundations charge that the Czech government is not doing enough to comply with the court’s ruling and end Roma school segregation.

    13. Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s abandoned home. Kandahar, Afghanistan, 2001. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos

      2008: Monitoring military actions in Afghanistan

      In Afghanistan, the Open Society Foundations focus on a range of issues, including establishing an independent bar association and exposing the consequences of war on civilians. Foundations reports describe the erosion of Afghan confidence in international forces due to civilian casualties, abuses that occur during night raids, wrongful and inhumane detention operations, and the lack of accountability for these actions.

    14. 2008: Securing fair treatment for U.S. detainees

      The U.S. Supreme Court rules that foreign nationals held as “unlawful enemy combatants” at Guantánamo have a constitutional right to petition U.S. courts for release because their detention is unlawful. The Open Society Foundations joined an amicus brief with grantees who had worked on the effort for six years. The previous year, in another case brought by grantees, a federal district court judge upheld a nationwide injunction requiring the U.S. government to treat detained asylum seekers fairly. The government’s harsh detention practices were one reason for a decline in the international reputation of the United States.

    15. Couple who now live in their community after decades in an institution for the mentally disabled. Croatia, 2006. © Open Society Foundations, photograph by Damir Fabijanic

      2008: Advancing the rights of people with mental disabilities

      The governments of Macedonia and Moldova take significant steps to end the exclusion of people with mental disabilities. In partnership with the Open Society Foundations, the Macedonian government agrees to move residents from a large institution marked by poor conditions and human rights violations into supported housing services. The Open Society Foundations and other NGOs sign an agreement with the Moldovan government to establish community-based services for children with mental disabilities. The Foundations are the leading supporter of programs for the benefit of people with mental disabilities, including efforts to promote educational and employment opportunities.

    16. Using microcredit to build a business and support a family. Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2010. © Aubrey Wade/Panos Pictures for the Open Society Foundations

      2009: Supporting development in postconflict Sierra Leone and Liberia

      BRAC, one of the world’s largest antipoverty groups, receives $15 million from the Open Society Foundations and other funders to rebuild war-torn Sierra Leone and Liberia. Microfinance, health, and agricultural programs are expected to help over 500,000 people. The Open Society Foundations are also working with the government in Liberia to improve education. Helping countries emerging from conflict is an important priority.

    17. Defense counsel, defendant, and mother of three-year-old victim appear before judge in mobile court for gender crimes. Idjwi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2010. © Antonin Kratochvil/VII for the Open Society Foundations

      2009: Creating a mobile court for gender crimes in Congo

      In response to the rape of thousands of women by soldiers during conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Open Society Foundations establish a mobile court for gender crimes that will travel to remote, war-torn regions bringing justice to women. In its first six months of operation, the mobile court hears the cases of 68 people charged with gender-based violence, convicting 51 to sentences ranging from three to 20 years. For the first time, victims and their families have access to justice.

    18. Homeless woman collecting discarded cans for cash. New York City, 2009. © Andrea Star Reese

      2009: Alleviating suffering caused by the global economic crisis

      George Soros and the Open Society Foundations commit hundreds of millions of dollars to help nonprofits and people hardest hit by the global economic downturn. Twenty countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union are to receive $100 million over two years. In the United States, Soros begins a fund for poverty alleviation that by February 2011 spends nearly $155 million, including $50 million for the Robin Hood Foundation in New York City and $35 million for the state’s children on public assistance for back-to-school supplies. In 2010, the Foundations also help nonprofits weather budget shortfalls with $11 million for New York City arts organizations and $5.5 million to three groups working to strengthen communities and spur economic growth.

    19. 2009: A New Approach to Markets

      George Soros establishes the Institute for New Economic Thinking in the United States to address the instability of markets and make economics more responsive to the fundamental problems of poverty and inequality. Soros intends to provide close to $150 million over 10 years to bring together a global community of economic thinkers ranging from Nobel Prize winning economists to graduate students and professors. Together they collaborate to reassess and develop new approaches to economics and share their ideas with journalists and policymakers.

  5. 2010s
    1. 2010: Funding civil society’s response to flooding in Pakistan

      In response to the devastation and human suffering caused by the flooding in Pakistan, the Open Society Foundations contribute $5 million for emergency provisions like food, clean water, tents and shelter, medicine and medical supplies. The Open Society foundation in Pakistan also hopes to support reconstruction projects such as restoring roads and bridges, repairing the electricity infrastructure, and rebuilding homes. Since 2004, the Foundations have spent several million dollars to bolster civil society in the country by supporting education, media, and the reconstruction campaign after the 2005 earthquake.

    2. Displaced Haitians living in Parc Martissant after the January 2010 earthquake devastated much of Port-au-Prince. © Ron Haviv/VII for the Open Society Foundations

      2010: Helping Haiti recover from a devastating earthquake

      In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the Open Society Foundations donate $5 million to five organizations doing life-saving work in the country. FOKAL, the Open Society foundation in Haiti, mobilizes to help their community and country. Michèle Pierre-Louis, FOKAL’s former director and the country’s prime minister until November 2009, is appointed the Open Society Foundations’ director of reconstruction in Haiti. The Soros Economic Development Fund and the Haiti-based WIN Group partner in the development of a $45 million industrial park that is expected to create 25,000 jobs. Since 1995, the Open Society Foundations have spent about $50 million to support early childhood education, public libraries, community water programs, small businesses and agricultural cooperatives, and urban revitalization in Port-au-Prince.

    3. Chadian girls walk through sandstorm near refugee camp. Bahai, Chad, 2004. © Lynsey Addario

      2010: Challenging Human Rights Watch with a $100 million grant

      The Open Society Foundations announce a challenge grant of $100 million over 10 years to Human Rights Watch to expand its global presence and enhance the protection and promotion of human rights around the world. The grant plus matching funds from other contributors will allow Human Rights Watch to establish advocacy offices in key regional capitals and to strengthen research on countries of concern. “Human Rights Watch is one of the most effective organizations I support,” Soros says. “Human rights underpin our greatest aspirations: they are at the heart of open societies.”

    4. © Naima Bouteldja

      2011: Challenging Stereotypes about Muslims Living in Europe

      In a series of publications, the Open Society At Home in Europe Project reports on the inclusion of Muslims in EU cities as it works for reforms and programs to eliminate continuing discrimination and prejudice. Many Muslims, while having strong feelings of belonging to their neighborhoods and cities, are concerned that others in the nation do not accept them. In one report, Unveiling the Truth, 32 Muslim women in France who wear the full-face veil debunk the myths and misrepresentations that fuel discriminatory laws, including France’s ban on wearing the veil.

    5. 2011: Empowering New York’s Vulnerable Black and Latino Young Men

      The Open Society Foundations announce a three-year, $30 million grant to the Young Men’s Initiative to provide educational, employment, and mentoring programs for black and Latino young men in New York City. The partnership, which includes funding from the city and Bloomberg Philanthropies for a total of more than $120 million, will try to address the broad disparities and injustices in the education system. The Open Society Foundations are committed to helping transform the lives of minorities, with successful education programs in Baltimore and a nationwide Campaign for Black Male Achievement.

    6. 2012: Chris Stone Assumes Presidency of Open Society

      Christopher Stone begins his presidency of the Open Society Foundations on July 2. Stone, the Guggenheim Professor of the Practice of Criminal Justice at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, takes over from Aryeh Neier, who had led the Foundations since 1993. A member of the Open Society Justice Initiative board, Stone was director of the Vera Institute of Justice from 1994 to 2004. With his assumption of the presidency, a new chapter in the Open Society story begins.

    7. 2012: Reinvigorating European Democracies

      The Open Society Initiative for Europe is created to build upon the Foundations’ 30 years of engagement in Europe by strengthening democracy and citizen empowerment as the continent is confronted by political and economic stagnation. Based in Barcelona, the Initiative works with a wide range of civil society organizations to strengthen less central voices, such as those in Europe’s geographic periphery, women and young people, and social groups that have been excluded from the political process, such as migrants, refugees, stateless groups, and minorities of all kinds.

    8. 2013: Solidarity to Confront Crisis in Europe

      In response to growing economic and political crises in Europe and Greece, George Soros and the Open Society Foundations launch Solidarity Now, an initiative to bring Europeans together to meet challenges caused by the crisis head on. The message is one of unity, not charity, and Solidarity Now’s network of solidarity centers provide services to alleviate some of the worst suffering among both Greek citizens and thousands of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Solidarity Now also launches a heating project to reduce the costs of winter heating for hospitals, schools, orphanages, and shelters, and offers support to civil society groups working in Greece.