By Ron Kampeas
WASHINGTON (JTA) — Open Society, the foundation founded by liberal billionaire philanthropist George Soros, is set to donate $220 million to racial justice groups in the wake of awareness stoked by civil unrest around the issue of police brutality.
A statement Monday from the foundation said $150 million of the money will be be in the form of five-year grants to a diverse set of Black-led organizations fighting for racial justice, including legacy groups and a number that have risen in recent years.
“These investments will empower proven leaders in the Black community to reimagine policing, end mass incarceration, and eliminate the barriers to opportunity that have been the source of inequity for too long,” Alex Soros, George Soros’ son and the co-chairman of Open Society, said in a statement.
The five-year span is intended to sustain awareness of racial justice issues even as the events of this summer, launched with the police killing in Minneapolis in May of George Floyd, recede from the headlines, the statement said.
Another $70 million will go to local authorities to examine incarceration policies, to hiring students for internships and fellowships, and preventing voter suppression.
George Soros, who has said his experience as a Holocaust survivor informs his philanthropy, has been targeted by conservatives who say he is funding destabilizing trends. Some of the conservative attacks on Soros have invoked anti-Semitic tropes.
Main Photo: George Soros, shown at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in January 2010, “never made any secret about his contributions to J Street,” his spokesman said. (Courtesy of World Economic Forum)