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United States

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

$261.1M 2020 Budget for the United States
21.6% Percentage of global budget
31.6 Average annual change in budget since 2016

Regional Budget by Year

Explore our full budget by theme and region

Our History

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People hold hands as a sign of unity during a rally in front of Baltimore City Hall in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 3, 2015. © Andrew Burton/Getty

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


Our Work

Coordinated by Open Society-U.S., we support a wide array of groups that are demanding an end to broad-based structural racism through the Black Lives Matter movement, while continuing to work on issues including immigration reform, democratic participation, media and technology policy, and the climate emergency.

Responding to COVID-19

People wearing face masks walk down a street in a crowded city
Pedestrians are seen wearing face masks in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood, in the Queens borough of New York City, on March 27, 2020. © Ryan Christopher Jones/Nytimes/Redux

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.

Immigration

A man holding his daughter in his arms, faces touching.
A father carries his young daughter from a bus station to the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley Respite Center in McAllen, Texas, on July 3, 2018. © Ilana Panich-Linsman/The New York Times/Redux

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.  

Criminal Justice Reform

A sculpture depicting a group of Black men with their hands up
A sculpture by Hank Willis Thomas, dedicated to the victims of white supremacy, stands on the grounds of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 20, 2018. © Audra Melton/NYTimes/Redux

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.  

Democratic Participation

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.

A young boy sitting atop another man's shoulder in a crowd speaks into a megaphone.
A young boy uses a megaphone to address hundreds of demonstrators during a protest against police brutality outside a police station in Baltimore, Maryland on April 22, 2015. © Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Information and Media

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Student journalists involved with ProPublica’s Electionland project work during the U.S. midterm elections in New York, New York, on November 6, 2018. © Erin Lefevre for ProPublica

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.  

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