OVERVIEW: George Soros’s Open Society Foundations maintain the broad aim of supporting democracy around the world. Its specific initiatives change frequently. Recent education funding has addressed access to quality education for underserved populations around the world and parent, student and teacher advocacy.
IP TAKE: Operating in over 100 countries, the Open Society Foundations support democracy around the world. The foundations run an education support initiative that works internationally to ensure quality education for underserved populations.
PROFILE: The Open Society Foundations represent the collective philanthropic enterprises of George Soros. The former hedge fund manager began working to “establish open societies in place of authoritarian forms of government” in 1979. Since then the Open Society Foundations have become the second largest private philanthropy in the U.S., with an endowment of $18 billion. Headquartered in New York City, the foundations maintain offices in 26 locations around the world and operate in over 100 countries. In addition to the broad goal of open societies, the foundations “work to build vibrant and inclusive societies, grounded in respect for human rights and the rule of law, whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.” The funding initiatives of the Open Society Foundations change frequently; recent programs include but are not limited to culture and art, early childhood, education support, human rights, international migration, independent journalism and the rights of women and the Roma people of Europe.
The Open Society Foundations support K-12 education across several of their initiatives, but most funding stems from the education support program. This initiative “advances the right to education” and aims “ensure that states meet their obligations” to this end. The initiative also invests in programs that promote quality educational practices for traditionally underserved populations and parent, student and teacher advocacy “to achieve durable systematic change in national education systems.”
Past education grants have ranged from $5,000 to $250,000 and are generally directed toward large, well-established organizations. Education grantees include the Network of Education Policy Centers and Reuslts Educational Fund, Inc. A searchable database of grants is available on the foundations’ website.
The Open Society Foundations accept inquiries about funding on an ongoing basis via their contact page. Applicants generally receive responses within four weeks. National and regional chapters of the Open Societies Foundations also post RFPs regularly.
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