The Open Society Institute has pledged $50 million to the Robin Hood Foundation to help people in New York City in need of basic services like food and shelter. George Soros, chair of OSI, on May 12 announced the donation in an effort to inspire other philanthropists and institutions to step up their giving in this time of economic crisis.
One of the largest gifts ever made to satisfy basic necessities, the grant hinges on Robin Hood’s board matching Soros’s contribution dollar for dollar.
“As a result of the financial meltdown, we are seeing a humanitarian emergency right here in the United States with New York at its epicenter,” Soros said at the annual fundraiser. The city has seen a record increase in new homeless families over the past several months.
“Behind the statistics there are individual stories of dislocation and distress and, as always, the most vulnerable are hurt the most.”
The grant aims to fill the gap left by foundations and charities hit by the recent financial downturn. “Just as needs have increased so tremendously, the philanthropic organizations have been also victims of the crisis, and they have to cut back,” Soros said. “We want to reverse that with this gift.”
Established in 1988, the Robin Hood Foundation supports more than 240 nonprofit organizations that implement a variety of anti-poverty programs in New York City, from providing early childhood education, to running food pantries, to housing survivors of domestic violence. Over the past 15 years Soros and the Open Society Institute have supported Robin Hood.
While the Open Society Institute will continue to tackle pressing global challenges, it also recognizes the urgency of providing basic services to New Yorkers struggling during harsh economic times.
“This is an exceptional situation and it calls for an exceptional response,” said Soros.
The Robin Hood Foundation’s event raised more than $72 million.