George Soros Empowering the People with his Wealth

George Soros is a billionaire with a net worth of $29 billion dollars, but his wealth was not inherited, and his origins would not have led anyone to assume that he would one day be one of the most successful hedge fund managers in the world. Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1930, he faced the difficult challenges of living in a country where both Nazism and communism took root. He was able to escape both, however, and eventually become a student at the London School of Economics in England. There he studied Karl Popper and other writing that is believed to have strongly influenced him. The oppressive forces he had to overcome as a young man, however, would also clearly shape the thinking that sets him apart from so many others.

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In an era where many feel that only the rich are getting richer, and the financial world stays under the ardent scrutiny of those with less, George Soros stands out as a socially conscious investor. While he may be revered in many circles for his uncanny success in the hedge fund industry, his record of philanthropy redefines what it is to be wealthy.

The Open Society, just one of his many philanthropic efforts, provides a unique example of the role that wealth can play in the lives of the impoverished. Its name alone speaks to Soros’s ideals. The Open Society funds organizations that are active in creating innovative solutions. It takes on problems that are often perceived as controversial. By funding non-profits that find new solutions to incarceration and the spread of HIV, it strives to find answers to some of the world’s most troubling social problems. The Open Society is a vast global organization. Impoverished and politically marginalized people around the world have received an array of assistance from it. The support it provides is not easy to pare down.
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George Soros | Open Society Foundations (OSF)

Soros lacks the conventional attributes of a philanthropist in that much of what he puts his money behind encourages the kind of criticism often aimed at wealthy moguls like himself. While wealthy philanthropists are not uncommon, Soros is special in that he doesn’t passively donate money from a distance. He has consistently shown a personal passion for the promotion of ideals he is personally driven by. His altruism has an egalitarian bent. Instead of founding a university that teaches others how to accrue wealth, he put $880 million dollars toward Central European University, an academic institution that emphasizes critical thought. His timing in creating CEU was also telling. It went up as soon as the Berlin Wall went down.

Soros has been active in American politics, most recently putting $15 million dollars towards supporting Latino opposition to Donald Trump, a candidate whose political platform is widely believed to be bigoted and undemocratic. Both men have the capacity to fund large scale social and political agendas, but while Trump is using his wealth to pave a path towards the White House, Soros is continuing to use his to encourage people to empower themselves.

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