Economic Equity and Justice
The Open Society Foundations work to promote economic development that advances social and racial justice, sustainability, and democracy.
2020 Economic Equity and Justice Budget by Region
Open Society’s early work on economic issues included support for affordable housing finance in South Africa after the end of apartheid, and work on revenue transparency in the oil, gas, and mining industries.
Today, we support an array of groups working to advance systemic reform of fiscal systems, corporate governance, and labor rights and protections. We back organizations who share our belief that every person deserves to live a life of dignity, grounded in the rights to equal opportunity and a core set of basic goods and services, regardless of differences shaped by birth, luck, and oppression.
We also fund technical assistance to governments and policymakers to promote accountable and equitable economic policy. Our impact investment arm, the Soros Economic Development Fund, invests in ventures that deliver positive social change.
Currently, we are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with support for low-income and migrant workers, and with advocacy and impact investments aimed at ensuring equal and affordable access to any COVID-19-related therapies and vaccines.
We support efforts by communities and workers to organize and have a say in decisions impacting them—a key protection that is increasingly under threat. This includes supporting migrants, women, and people from ethnic or racial minorities whose work is particularly exposed to exploitation. Our grantees include the International Domestic Workers’ Federation, which seeks to organize to protect and advance domestic and household workers’ rights worldwide.
Our Human Rights Initiative supports activists around the world who are fighting for enforced rules that protect people and the planet from unfettered corporate power. We work to ensure that local communities can use existing laws to protect their lands or livelihoods from illegal seizures or environmental damage. We also seek to raise regulatory standards for corporations and investors, such as backing demands that the European Union require companies to assess and reduce their human rights and environmental risks and impacts.
Our Economic Justice Program has been an active supporter of the Open Government Partnership, an initiative that brings together governments and civil society groups to promote inclusive, responsive, and accountable government—including in tax and budget spending.
The Soros Economic Development Fund, part of our Economic Justice Program, seeks to make private-sector investments in sectors where established funding pipelines do not exist, and to deliver clear benefits to our target communities, including women; refugees, migrants, and their host communities; and groups that face exclusion on racial or ethnic grounds.
Lawyers at our Open Society Justice Initiative continue to develop innovative approaches to using the law to support economic and social rights—from using European law to challenge mortgage-related home repossessions in Ireland, to using rights arguments to challenge corruption in Sierra Leone before West Africa’s regional court.
Working Together to Address Health Workforce Mobility in Europe
In Europe, the migration of health workers from east to west has had significant impacts—including the loss of skilled health professionals. This policy brief offers six key insights concerning policies that are needed across the EU.
The World Can’t Wait
Q&A: A New Social Contract for Workers and Business
After the financial crisis of 2008, many advocates were disappointed by the unwillingness of many governments to shake up a discredited status quo. More than 10 years later, amidst another crisis, there is reason for hope.
Housing Is a Right
How One Community Defended Their Homes and Defeated Private Equity
In New Hampshire, the Open Society Foundations, a community development finance group, and a mix of local investors and residents joined together to keep 874 family homes out of private equity’s hands. It worked.