George Soros: A continued legacy of philanthropy

With donations exceeding $12 billion, George Soros is one of the world’s leading philanthropists. Funding organizations and individuals fighting internationally for responsible governments, freedom of expression, transparency, social justice and equality.

Soros was born in Hungary, which he later fled, and studied in the London School of Economics, paying for his schooling by working as a railway porter and waiter. This was before he began working at merchant bank, starting his career in finance. He then moved to New York, where he got his start in Wall Street and in 1969 established a $12 million hedge fund, later named Quantum Fund. Soros is considered an investment heavyweight, and manages his family office, the Soros Fund Management, which is worth $30 billion in assets. Read more on NYTimes.com

His philanthropic focus; on fighting against discrimination and for equality, stems from his own experiences in intolerance. He experienced the Nazi occupation in 1944-1945 in Hungary; his family survived the mass murders of Jews by concealing their identities and helping others do the same. To Soros, these actions during this difficult time highlight the importance of resisting evil, and helping others. It is in this spirit that George Soros created the Open Society Foundations (OSF), a network spanning more than 100 countries, which includes projects, partners, and foundations. Starting by providing scholarships to black South Africans under apartheid, and supported the exchange of ideas in the Communist Easter Bloc. He also created the Central European University, to provide a space for critical thinking. After the Cold War, he expanded his charitable activities to United States, Africa, and Asia. His efforts there focused on the creation of more democratic societies. His ideals mirror those of an open society.

Soros’s social efforts extend beyond his foundations, to support other organizations committed to similar causes, such as Global Witness, the International Crisis Group, the European Council on Foreign Relations, and the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Read his profile at Business Insider.

In his commitment to fighting oppression and supporting more open and just societies, with transparent governments, Soros used his wealth and connections to support political change in several countries around the world. This includes financially supporting movements and charters that are working towards recognition of human rights. One example is his support of the 1976 “Charter 77” which demanded the Czech government recognize some basic human rights. This spurred a growth of a political movement and ultimately the velvet revolution, bringing down Czechoslovakia’s Communist regime. According to him, this wealth allowed him the freedom to shape a path towards a more equitable and open world.

Even at 80, Soros continues to actively participate in the OSF’s activities, traveling the globe to promote its mission and advocating for positive policy changes.

Read more: http://www.cnbc.com/george-soros/

Sources:

http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=977

https://www.forbes.com/profile/george-soros/

https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/people/george-soros

Bruce Levenson’s Philanthropy Takes A New Turn

Bruce Levenson has been mentioned several times on Forbes.com over the last two years such as when he sold the Atlanta Hawks in 2015 for a hefty sum of $850 million, and then the following year when he and several other owners filed a lawsuit against AIG insurance for their failure to honor a policy. In that particular case Levenson and his fellow owners sought damage relief regarding settling a contract dispute with former GM Danny Ferry. But there has been positive news as well with Levenson’s new Do Good Institute. Levenson is helping young people change their view of philanthropy and find creative ways to run a non-profit organization like a startup business. https://www.benzinga.com/news/17/03/9165680/university-of-marylands-non-profit-initiative-is-changing-higher-education

Bruce Levenson’s business career started back in 1977 while attending law school at American University. He and his friend Ed Peskowitz had decided to go into newsletter publishing and they had the printing equipment in their apartment, so they began publishing papers on the oil industry and other businesses. Their success led to the start of United Communications Group (UCG), a company that covers news in finance, healthcare, education and energy. Levenson also joined the board at BIA Digital Partners and led the spinoff of TechTarget. He and Peskowitz entered the NBA ownership circle in 2004 when they made their bid to purchase the majority of the Atlanta Hawks’ shares. Levenson owned the team until early 2015.

Bruce Levenson‘s philanthropy has been largely based in Washington D.C. where he grew up and has spent much of his time at. Charities he’s been involved in include the Community Foundation and Hoop Dreams, a basketball tournament for teenagers. He’s also been a board member of the Holocaust Memorial Museum where he’s started a program for teaching young people how to tell their friends about the event. Levenson also supports Jewish organizations such as SEED, BBYO and Birthright Israel.