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Economic Governance and Advancement

The Open Society Foundations work to promote fiscal and economic development that advances social justice through openness, accountability, and equity.

$131.7M 2019 budget for Economic Governance and Advancement
12.1% Percentage of global budget
23.6% Average annual change in budget since 2016

2019 Economic Governance and Advancement Budget by Region


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      Explore our full budget by theme and region

      Our Work

      The Open Society Foundation’s early work on economic issues included supporting affordable housing finance in South Africa, and work on revenue transparency in the oil, gas, and mining industries.

      Today, we work on a wide range of economic justice matters, with projects ranging from protecting the rights of domestic workers, to direct global advocacy aimed at strengthening the transparency and oversight of international and national financial flows.

      Panama City's skyline behind multiple makeshift homes.
      Panama City's Boca La Caja and Punta Pacifica neighborhood on April 28, 2014. © Rodrigo Arangua/AFP/Getty

      We also support broad efforts to combat corruption at all levels through our support of investigative reporting and through strategic litigation.

      In addition to giving grants to civil society organizations, we also fund technical assistance to governments and policymakers. Our impact investment arm, the Soros Economic Development Fund, invests in ventures that deliver positive social change, with a focus on benefiting, amongst others, refugees and host communities, Roma, women in the informal economy, and smallholder farmers.

      Open Society also supports the growth of shared business ownership models and the emergence of innovations in social protections and insurance.

      Economic Transparency and Accountability

      Two people look at papers pinned to a bulletin board.
      Students at a primary school look at a charts displaying information that tracks government funds and expenditure for the school in Kitana, Tanzania, on January 29, 2010. © Andrew McConnell/Panos/Redux

      Our Economic Justice Program has been an active supporter of the Open Government Partnership, an initiative launched in 2011 that brings together governments and civil society groups to promote inclusive, responsive, and accountable government—including in tax and budget spending.

      In Kenya, South Africa, and elsewhere, our local foundations have funded local community groups that use freedom-of-information requests and on-the-ground reporting to audit the delivery of local services and infrastructure projects.

      Men in a field of marigolds look at a smartphone.
      Two farmers in Junnar, India, on October 28, 2018. © Atul Loke/NYTimes/Redux

      Impact Investing

      The Economic Justice Program’s impact investments include participating in the Nomou Jordan Fund, a development fund that supports small and medium-sized businesses in Jordan, to create jobs for refugees and Jordanians. It has also invested in Humanity United’s Working Capital Fund, which backs early stage companies with innovations to boost transparency and protect workers, including migrants and refugees, in global supply chains.

      A man stands next to a water tank used to irrigate crops.
      A farmer in Tunisia stands beside the water tank he uses to irrigate his crops. © Alfredo D'Amato/Panos Pictures/Redux

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