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How we fund

Every year the Open Society Foundations give thousands of grants to groups and individuals that work on the issues we care about: promoting democracy, transparency, and freedom of speech.

2,850+ Grants awarded to organizations and individuals in 2018
300+ Individual scholarships given in 2018
$154 Million Active impact investments as of January 2019

Our Approach

Building long-term relationships of trust with the entities we support, and understanding their health, effectiveness, strengths, and the challenges they face, is an integral part of the Open Society Foundations’ organization-centered approach to grant making. The vast majority of our grants are awarded to organizations that we approach directly. The kind of grants any Open Society program makes depend on its strategy and its vision of how to use its budget most effectively. Search our database of awarded grants.

Our Impact

Our global grants seek to address intractable problems, often rooted in deep social and economic inequalities. Our funding, while considerable, is dwarfed by global financial flows of international aid and investment that may reinforce inequalities. We know that real change comes slowly, and strive to recognize both successes and failures.

  • A woman reaches out of the window of a pickup truck to shake hands with a girl.
    A Nyeri Hospice palliative care nurse, who also provide legal aid to her patients and their families, greets two young women at the home of their sick grandmother. © Sven Torfinn/Panos for the Open Society Foundations
  • A group of people posing in a yellow room.
    A group of Soros Arts Fellowship recipients pose with Open Society staff during an orientation and training session in Lisbon, Portugal, on March 28, 2018. © Agata Xavier for the Open Society Foundations
  • A man and a woman wearing vests that say “paralegal” walking down a road.
    Two paralegals from the Nubian Rights Forum return to their office after escorting clients to a registration center in Nairobi, Kenya. © Lianne Milton/Panos for the Open Society Foundations
  • A group of mayors sitting behind a table with microphones.
    Attendees at the Fifth Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, in Marrakech, Morocco, on December 8, 2018. © Maria Balkanlieva/Majority World for the Open Society Foundations
  • Two women speak outside of a house.
    A participant in the Open Society Institute's Roma Scholars Program speaks with members of the Roma community in Vanatori, Romania, on September 13, 2008. Pamela Chen/Open Society Foundations
  • People in yellow shirts create plates of regional cuisine in the kitchen of a café.
    Workers in the kitchen of a café staffed entirely by people with disabilities in Almaty, Kazakhstan. © Vladamir Tretyakov
  • Three men and a woman engage in conversation while outdoors. All four are members of an Open Society grantee which focuses on providing care and support for drug users and their families.
    Outreach workers with Attitude, an Open Society Foundations grantee focused on comprehensive care for drug users and their families, greet a man in Recife, Brazil. © Lianne Milton/Panos for the Open Society Foundations
  • Four people on a stage.
    Open Society Foundations President Patrick Gaspard speaks with Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Frank Giustra, and Keisha Lance Bottoms onstage during the 2018 Concordia Annual Summit in New York City. Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit
  • A group of people talking outside of a school room.
    Representatives from nonprofit groups visit an after-school program in a community in Puerto Rico that is resisting relocation after several hurricanes caused severe damaged in the area. © Erika P. Rodriguez for the Open Society Foundations

More than 20,000 people around the world have benefited directly from attending universities and colleges supported by scholarships from the Open Society Foundations. In the 1990s, our giving directly helped citizens in the former countries of Central and Eastern Europe during the difficult transition from Communism. Today, our grants help sustain a vast array of human rights and civil society groups around the world. 

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