George Soros has been involved in philanthropy since the 1970’s. He has given away over $12 billion dollars to various charities in his lifetime, and that number only continues to grow. Not only does he continue to give from his own fortune, but his various foundations and endowments have bloomed over the years creating even more wealth for philanthropic projects.
Without a doubt, his main focus has been on expanding human rights around the world to disenfranchised minorities. Whether it is an issue of racial oppression or LGBTQ rights, Mr. Soros has been at the forefront of action.
He inherited this desire for equality honestly. Hungarian-born, he is the son of Jewish survivors of the NAZI oppression and holocaust in his home country. Only by securing false papers was his family able to survive. Read more about George at The New York Times.
After World War II, he went to London, leaving the totalitarian regime that sprang up there as a satellite of the Soviet Union. After studying Economics and working in low-wage, labor jobs, he emigrated to the United States in 1956 where he built his fortune on Wall Street. By the 1980’s he was one of the top givers of money to philanthropic causes, and he continues to this day.
His network of organizations is called the Open Society Foundations. These various groups coordinate to participate in activism all over the world. At the core of their various goals are freedom of expression, respect for individual rights, and democratic governance.
His first major act was to begin a scholarship program for black students in South Africa during apartheid. He then worked for cultural exchanges and to help break down the tyrannical regimes of Eastern Europe during the Cold War. After the fall of the Soviet Union, he continued to promote cultural interaction. He funded universities in the former Warsaw Pact nations. He helped to foster peace and understanding during the early years of chaos after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
He has since been very active in the United States promoting the issue of marriage equality throughout the country, as well as having a big hand in the initiation of the medical marijuana movement. He continues to expand his giving in those areas, while being active in political movements both on local and national levels.
Mr. George Soros is truly an example of how one can excel in a free, capitalist system, but still remember where their humble beginnings. His empathy for working and oppressed peoples comes from personal experience living through many of the great horrors of the twentieth century. He now seems to be leading the way in stopping those horrors in the twenty-first.
Read more: http://www.forbes.com/profile/george-soros/