Billionaire George Soros, who is sometimes characterized as a villain by right-wing media for his financial support of social justice causes, has announced another such pledge that is unlikely to change that dynamic. His Open Society Foundations recently announced $220 million in new contributions to "emerging organizations and leaders building power in Black communities across the country, placing a bet on their ability to carry today's momentum toward a better tomorrow," according to the organization's press release.
$150 million of that sum will go towards five-year grants for "Black-led justice organizations that helped to create and now sustain the momentum towards racial equality," with the idea being to provide these organizations with long-term financial support rather than just one-time cash donations. As Tom Perriello, executive director of the US branch of Open Society, put it in the press announcement:
"The success of this movement, the largest in U.S. history, will be measured over years, not weeks, and we cannot say that Black lives matter and not make a multi-year commitment to a strategy set by and centering Black leaders and organizations who changed America's sense of what is possible."
Some of the organizations receiving these five-year grants include Black Voters Matter, Circle for Justice Innovations, Repairers of the Breach, and the Equal Justice Initiative, focusing on myriad aspects of social change in the United States, from electoral organizing to police reform and beyond.
The remaining $70 million will go toward "more immediate efforts to advance racial justice," including combating voter suppression, investing in cities "reimagine public safety, moving beyond the culture of criminalization and incarceration, and aiming to create safe, healthy, and racially just communities," and youth engagement.
Soros's Open Society Foundations established a Racial Justice Initiative way back in 2003, but this is an unusually large and ambitious project even for him.
More details on these Open Society grants are to be revealed in the near future.