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George Soros’s Foundation Pours $220 Million Into Racial Equality Push

  • July 13, 2020

Patrick Gaspard, the president of the Open Society Foundations, said in an interview that the group believed the investment was about harnessing the momentum toward racial justice, but also giving organizations room to think long-term. Now, he said, is “the moment we’ve been investing in for the last 25 years.”

“There is this call for justice in Black and brown communities, an explosion of not just sympathy but solidarity across the board,” Mr. Gaspard said. “So it’s time to double down. And we understood we can place a bet on these activists — Black and white — who see this as a moment of not just incrementalism, but whole-scale reform.”

“The demands being made now will not be met overnight, and we know the gaze of media and elected officials will turn in other directions,” he added. “But we need these moments to be sustained. If we’re going to say ‘Black lives matter,’ we need to say ‘Black organizations and structures matter.’”

Even before Monday’s announcement, progressive groups, Democratic candidates and racial justice organizations had been flooded with small-dollar donations, breaking giving records and allowing former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as well as House and Senate candidates to post eye-popping fund-raising numbers. It is the convergence of an election year in which Democrats are desperate to defeat President Trump with an extraordinary protest movement that has pushed many to action, changing public opinion among white Americans and ideological moderates in the process.

But in making the grants last for five years, Open Society’s leaders said, the organization is freeing groups to think beyond the current moment. Heather McGhee, who is on the foundation’s domestic board and has been on recent calls informing groups of their new grants, said the five-year commitments let leaders feel “they could breathe and they can focus on the strategy and the work.” The calls have been emotional, she said, as groups that have long felt marginalized by mainstream philanthropy find out their work will be sustained and supported.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/13/us/politics/george-soros-racial-justice-organizations.html

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