Open Society Foundations

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Open Society Foundations (OSF, formerly known as the Open Society Institute) a private operating and grant-making foundation, aims to shape public policy. It has been a significant and active donor to progressive political advocacy organizations. OSF was created in 1993 by investor George Soros. The Soros foundations network encompasses more than 60 countries, including the United States.[1]


Soros Justice Fellowship

Open Society Foundations sponsors numerous fellowships, among them, the Soros Justice Fellowship. Fellowships are awarded to "outstanding individuals" who will implement innovative projects to be used to advance OSF's aim of reforming the United State's criminal justice system. The program's over-arching strategy is to address, and summarily defeat, two particular facets of the criminal justice system, which OSF deems as "ills": "the over-reliance on incarceration and harsh punishment, and the lack of equal justice—especially for people of color and the poor."[2]

Fellowships are funneled through two programs: Advocacy Fellowship (given to lawyers, advocates, grassroots organizers, activist academics, and others with important perspectives) and Media Fellowships (given to print and radio journalists, filmmakers, authors, and others with distinctive voices.)

Noteworthy Recipients

  • The Soros Justice Fellowship has been conferred upon Linda Evans a radical communist, and former member of the "Weather Underground." Evans served 16 years of a 40 year sentence (being pardoned by President Bill Clinton in the eleventh hour of his presidency) for acquiring weapons, ID, safe houses, finances, and political and military training materials with the intent of attacking the following locations: the United States Capitol Building, National War College, Navy Yard Computer Center and Navy Yard Officers Club, Israeli Aircraft Industries, the FBI office and New York Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.[3] According to FBI files, Evans, when shown an anti-aircraft gun (which she subsequently cradled in her arms) during a trip to Hanoi in 1969, quipped, "[I wish] an American plane would fly over."

Her award was intended to "increase civic participation of former prisoners."[4]

Opportunity NYC

In September of 2007, OSF teamed with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Rockefeller Foundation in a program designed "to pay low-income parents in six New York neighborhoods to behave responsibly toward their children."[5] Approximately 2,550 families were initially enrolled in the program which was structured using the following payment rubric:

"Opportunity NYC conditional cash transfer"

  • $25 awarded to parents for reviewing their child's test scores
  • $25 for discussing those scores with a teacher
  • $25 for attending a parent-teacher conference
  • $50 for obtaining a library card
  • $100 for taking one's child to the dentist or to a doctor-recommended (and taxpayer-subsidized) medical exam[6]

(For information on payouts to children, click here.)

Defense Funding for Lynne Stewart

Lynne Stewart, an American accused of working with the World Trade Center terrorists who planned the original attack on the Twin Towers, was given $20,000 by OSF to be used for her defense fund.[7] She was eventually convicted on charges of conspiracy and sentenced to 28 months in prison.[8]

U.S. Government Funding

Between 1998 and 2003 (excluding 1999 and 2004), the Open Society Institute received $30,454,031 from the various departments of the United States Government. In the spring of 2005, Cybercast News Service asked OSF to explain how the sum had been spent. "The foundation did not respond to multiple requests for the information."[9]

For more information, see: (OSF's complete 2005 tax return (262 pages))

Donor Partnerships

OSF's website provides information on how its subsidiaries, designated as "national foundations," can receive funding from each organization's home government. Suggestions are as follows:[10]

  • Public financing can be used to co-fund, expand or ensure sustainability of programs initiated by the national foundation.
  • When a government cannot provide funds, it can allocate land, use of facilities, media time or staff to a donor partnership.
  • Governments can waive or reduce taxes and duties for efforts of the Soros foundations.
  • Governments can publicize the programs or requests of the national foundation through official channels, often at no charge.

Political Ties

OSF Disclaimer: George Soros

OSF Statement on George Soros’s Political Activities

"George Soros’s private political activities are wholly separate from the Open Society Institute. OSF is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical entity—in accordance with U.S. laws for tax-exempt organizations.

Soros, as a private individual, is entitled to use his after-tax personal funds to support political candidates or parties within the parameters of U.S. election law. Any public statements on political issues are also made solely in his personal capacity. Open Society Foundations is not consulted or otherwise involved, and OSF is neither able nor permitted to comment."[11]

Soros Endorsements

Soros, speaking on his own behalf regarding the 2008 presidential election, has sad that, "I have a very high regard for Hillary Clinton, but I think Obama has the charisma and the vision to radically reorient America in the world. I think that he has shown to be a really unusual person."[12]

OSI and ballot measures

Federal income tax returns from 2004 and 2005 show OSI as a supporter of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.

See also

External links