George Soros is one of the wealthiest individuals on the planet today. Over the course of the last two decades, he has consistently featured the yearly billionaires’ list produced by Forbes Magazine. A self-made individual, the entirety of Soros’s wealth has come from more than four decades of work in the capital markets. His hedge fund has grown by around three thousand-fold since its formation in 1969, today holding assets estimated at around $30. What sets Soros apart from other billionaires, however, is that he understands the positive impact his wealth could have on the lives of millions of ordinary people. Consequently, he has over the last three decades donated a substantial portion of his wealth towards political and philanthropic programs within and outside the United States.
In the interest of self-preservation, the wealthy do not like mixing with politics, and whenever they do it is often to support the existing political establishments. For George Soros, however, experiences in his childhood drew him towards political involvement. Born a Jew in Hungary a few years before the commencement of the Second World War, he was among the millions discriminated against merely because they were Jews. Be the end of the war. It is estimated that up to 500,000 Jews in the country died at the hand of the Nazis. Soros and his family were among the few to come out of the war alive but has carried with him the emotional wounds since then. It is these experiences and memories that fuel his desire advance the cause for democracy, even when it puts him at loggerheads with political powers.
To advance his political ideas, George Soros works through a network of non-profits known as the Open Society Foundations. He launched the Society’s first foundation in 1984 in Hungary. Since then, it has grown to a network of over 20 foundations of varying sizes: some being national and some being regional. Over the entirety of his lifetime, Soros has donated an estimated $12 billion towards political and philanthropic projects largely through these foundations.Soros’s philanthropic efforts tend to be targeted at populations that have been forsaken by even governments. Following the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States late last year, there were strong anti-immigrant and anti-refugee messages coming from the government. At the same time, there was an ongoing refugee crisis in Europe as refugees from the Middle East and Africa flooded the continent. Soros decided to donate $500 million through his Open Society Foundations to go towards assisting the tens of millions of people displaced all across the globe find employment opportunities. The move was lauded by many as it showed that the private sector could actually help solve global problems.