George Soros’ international grant making network, Open Society Foundations, has announced investments totaling $220 million in 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.
The largest share of this support—$150 million—will be through a set of five-year grants to Black-led justice organizations that helped to create and now sustain the momentum towards racial equality.
Recipients of this set of investments range from emerging groups to more established forces for civil rights. Among them: Black Voters Matter, Circle for Justice Innovations, Repairers of the Breach and the Equal Justice Initiative. Some are fighting for an end to policing as we know it, and others are fighting for access to the ballot.
Open Society will also make a series of substantial investments, totaling $70 million, in more immediate efforts to advance racial justice. These initiatives will include the following:
- Investments in a set of cities as they reimagine public safety, moving beyond the culture of criminalization and incarceration, and aiming to create safe, healthy, and racially just communities. We will fund bold and promising strategies to these ends. Through financial support, advocacy, and technical assistance, we will partner with local governments and local organizations—seeking, among other things, to strengthen local expertise in understanding and navigating municipal budgets.
- A further set of investments will go toward nurturing the civic engagement of young people, many of whom have engaged in activism for the first time in response to this extraordinary political moment in the history of our country. With summer internships cancelled in a job market ravaged by COVID-19, and high schools and colleges uncertain whether they’ll be able to welcome students back to campus in the fall, Open Society’s funding will create opportunities for students to enroll in internships and fellowships that focus on racial justice, democracy, organizing, and mentorship.
- Support for ongoing efforts to fight voter suppression and disinformation, and ensure safe and secure elections, in the midst of the pandemic.
The Open Society Foundations has been working to advance racial justice in the United States for more than two decades. Open Society launched its Racial Justice Initiative in 2003 and has steadily grown support for those addressing systemic inequality experienced by historically marginalized communities of color.
In subsequent years, the Foundations helped launch the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, investing nearly $20 million over several years, and gave $50 million to help the ACLU’s campaign to reduce mass incarceration. Last year, Open Society-U.S. invested $25 million in multiyear grants to state organizations led by, and accountable to, people of color, as well as $15 million to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.