Economic Governance and Advancement
The Open Society Foundations work to promote fiscal and economic development that advances social justice through openness, accountability, and equity.
2019 Economic Governance and Advancement Budget by Region
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Accountability Really Means
No healthy civil society can exist without a foundation of public trust. Accountability Lab’s Blair Glencorse explains how his group is investing in the next generation of responsible, ethical, and devoted public servants.
How New Technologies Can Help—and Hurt—Migrant Workers
Technology has enormous potential to improve the situation of the most disadvantaged workers, particularly migrants and refugees in low-wage jobs. But it can also exacerbate power imbalances that lead to worker exploitation.
How to Ensure That Women and Girls Count in Government Budgets
When women are underrepresented in policymaking, the result can be seemingly neutral decisions which have a disproportionate—and negative—influence on women and girls. A new way of thinking about budgets may offer a solution.