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Spreading democratic ideals.

Average of $400 million expended annually.

Shaped by his upbringing in war-time Hungary, billionaire financier George Soros established the Open Society Institute in 1984, charged by the desire to spread democracy and inspire tolerant and free societies. Since its inception, the Open Society Foundations – which includes the Open Society Institute, as well as country and regional programs and offices – has grown to encompass a network active in over 80 countries. Operating as both a grant-making and implementing entity, in the last 30 years the organization has invested more than eight billion dollars in projects spanning a variety of issues, including governance, justice reform, protection of the rights of minorities, education and public health. 

While some of the Open Society Foundations’ most recognisable work occurred in Eastern Europe after the fall of communism, more recent initiatives include: ‘AfriMap’ – a tool monitoring the compliance of African Union states with human rights standards and good governance principles; ‘At Home in Europe’, which promotes the integration of the continent’s diverse minority groups; and the ‘Documentary Photography Project’, centred on using human rights-themed exhibitions as a means to shape public perception and stimulate social change. While the organization’s initiatives continue to expand and evolve, its core principles have remained steadfast for the last three decades and show no sign of wavering.

(Photo © OSF)