In the United States, the Open Society Foundations work with organizations and individuals who seek to address profound racial, economic, and political inequalities, while funding efforts to prepare for the policy challenges of the future.
Offices and Foundations
Baltimore, United States
The Open Society Institute–Baltimore office, which serves as a field office for the Open Society Foundations' U.S. programs, opened in 1997.
New York, United States
The New York office is Open Society’s main grant-giving center, as well as the base for many global initiatives and thematic and regional programs.
Washington, United States
The Washington, D.C., office engages in advocacy aimed at influencing U.S. government policy on domestic and international issues such as civil liberties, criminal justice reform, human rights, transparency, and accountability.
By the Numbers
Expenditures by Year
George Soros’s giving in the United States began in the 1980s with a focus on just two issues—improving the quality of palliative care, and reforming punitive drug policies that largely targeted Black Americans. During the 1990s, our racial justice work broadened to fight bias in schools, in policing, in voting, and in the justice system, while we expanded support for those advocating for greater levels of government accountability and the protection of civil and political rights for all.
Highlights of Our Work in the United States
Coordinated by Open Society-U.S., we support a wide array of groups that are demanding an end to broad-based structural racism and continuing work on issues including immigration reform, democratic participation, media and technology policy, and the climate emergency.
Communities across the United States, and in New York City in particular, have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. We responded with an initial emergency funding package—aimed at providing over $80 million in support for essential workers as well as for undocumented workers and others who were being overlooked by federal and most state relief efforts.
We also stepped up support for groups working to protect the right to vote, through the introduction of vote by mail in places where the risk of infection is likely to discourage people from going to the polls. We are also supporting efforts to ensure that essential workers are protected and fairly paid, and we are backing the search for new public policy initiatives that will address the deep economic and racial inequalities laid bare by the pandemic.
We support a range of groups that work on immigration issues, from local and state organizations that provide frontline legal advice to individuals seeking asylum or facing deportation, to national groups such as the National Immigration Law Center, United We Dream, and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration that advocate for fundamental reform.
The Open Society Foundations act as a global advocate for justice systems and policing that treat everyone equally, and which reduce unnecessary and punitive use of incarceration. In the United States, this mission is particularly vital. We support groups such as the ACLU and the Equal Justice Initiative that challenge a system that is overly reliant on prisons and which disproportionately prosecutes and punishes people of color—often because of the unequal application of anti-drug laws. We also advocate for an approach to policing that emphasizes community engagement and accountability, particularly for the use of force.
Despite the country’s democratic tradition, politics in the United States have been marked by partisan assaults on voting rights, particularly of African Americans, and a focus on campaign spending that seeks to reduce the role of money in determining political outcomes. The Open Society Foundations support groups such as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Faith in Action, which contest efforts to constrain voter participation and to bolster civic engagement. We have also funded groups that use new technology to explore ways to engage people on issues that concern them.
From efforts to preserve net neutrality to exploring the impact of internet algorithms on social and political life, the Open Society Foundations support efforts to understand the implications of information technology on the way we live. The Foundations also continue to support efforts to protect journalistic freedoms, through groups such as the Committee to Protect Journalists, and to ensure that market forces do not curtail independent investigative reporting, by helping to fund newsrooms such as ProPublica and the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Lani Guinier’s Overlooked Education Legacy
The late Lani Guinier thought deeply about the intersection between education and criminal justice. Her leadership at Open Society helped pave the way to colleges across the country offering higher education to the incarcerated.
Post-Election Punditry Overlooks Asian American Gains
The pundits focused on a swing vote shift to the GOP in statewide races on the ballot November 2. But the election saw landmark strides toward a multiracial democracy at the local level, as Asian Americans made significant gains.
Racial Justice in the United States
For decades, George Soros and the Open Society Foundations have supported the movement against systemic racism—from ending the drug war to reforming systems of education and criminal justice to securing the right to vote.