The Open Society Foundations have been working in Hungary since 1984, when its founder George Soros set up the Hungarian Soros Foundation. Today, we continue to support Hungarian partners working on issues that include promoting independent journalism, fighting corruption, supporting civic participation, and combatting discrimination. In 2016, the Open Society Foundations supported 46 different organizations in Hungary with grants that totalled $3.6 million. Since 1984, our total grants in Hungary have exceeded $400 million.
Nine facts about our work in Hungary:
- From 1991 to 1996, the Foundations spent over $5 million providing free breakfasts for tens of thousands of elementary school children, as many families struggled economically during the transition from Communism.
- In 2010, the Open Society Foundations provided $1 million in emergency funding after extensive contamination of the Danube and other waterways caused by red sludge released in a severe chemical spillage.
- In the 1990s, the Foundations backed a large scale program to introduce ultrasound scanners into hospitals across Hungary, as part of a broad effort to support the modernization of health care treatment.
- After the 2008 global financial crisis, we provided over $8.6 million in emergency funds to over 150 local groups in Hungary that were helping people deal with economic problems.
- More than 3,200 Hungarians have studied abroad with the support of funding from the Open Society Foundations—including the current prime minister, Viktor Orban.
- Between 1985 and 1995, the Soros Hungary Foundation spent over $4.4 million supplying over 1,000 photocopiers to libraries, hospitals, and other institutions, to promote the free exchange of ideas and information despite state controls.
- Between 1997 and 2004, the Foundations formed a partnership with the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta, responding to a surge in the incidence of tuberculosis amid the growing homeless population by screening over 40,000 people.
- George Soros, our founder, donated over $250 million to fund the creation of the Central European University in Budapest. More than 2,100 Hungarians have attended the CEU with scholarship support from Open Society Foundations.
- The Budapest office employs around 100 staff, 60 percent of them Hungarians, and is one of the regional hubs of the Open Society Foundations.