Philanthropy

The Fight For Freedom Continues For George Soros

The Open Society Foundation has quickly grown to become one of the world’s largest networks of charitable groups thanks to the funding provided for the organization by philanthropist and founder George Soros. Best known for his work as a legendary hedge fund manager, the gamble taken by Soros on the devaluation of the British Pound resulted in him becoming known as the man who broke the Bank of England according to Forbes, Soros has spent a large amount of his time exploring the need for cultural change across many nations on the planet. As he has now developed a fortune estimated to be worth more than $25 billion George Soros believes it is his responsibility to the community he serves to give back in a way that benefits those in the greatest level of need. Read more on NYTimes.com

George Soros is not the kind of billionaire philanthropist to blindly throw money at a cause without first completing a high level of research into any difficult situation and finding the best way of assisting those being stripped of their rights. A good example of his approach to the cultural problems he encounters can be found in the way Soros sought to aid Europe’s Roma community as they sought to be accepted as members of society in the European Union; The Open Society Foundations explains George Soros has been a major donor to the legal battle taking place in European Union to integrate the Roma community into the world around us all, Soros has helped provide legal representation for the Roma community and other groups seeking to protect their rights.

The human rights of people from various communities have not been the only aspect of the work of George Soros that he has explored through The Open Society Foundations; the Hungarian born financial expert has also been seeking to assist those in Africa and Asia in battling the crippling effects of the drug war on their communities. Soros has been a strong supporter of the fight to legalize marijuana since the early part of the 21st century when he was part of a campaign to alter the tactics of the United Nations in fighting the criminal drug industry. Prior to his work in Africa and Asia, George Soros was well known for being a major supporter of the bid to bring down the Berlin Wall and end the Cold War on the side of the West. Much of the desire of George Soros to end the Cold War was located in his own history as a Hungarian who was forced to live under Soviet rule following the end of World War II, which would prompt him to take his own refugee journey across Europe to London and later New York.

Visit Project Syndicate to learn more about George.

Dick DeVos’s Foundation Has Helped Private Schools Across Michigan

The DeVos family is one of Michigan’s wealthiest families, but also one of their most generous and their charity work has helped non-profit groups and private schools across the state. Betsy DeVos, the wife of Dick DeVos explained to Philanthropy Roundtable why much of their foundation’s work has been dedicated to education. She explains how school of choice is such an important thing for families who aspire for their children to receive better quality education than what most public schools offer. She also cited examples of how education reform laws have helped state education overall do better in places like Florida and Louisiana. Education is just one of Dick and Betsy’s passions.

 

Dick DeVos grew up in a business-minded household, the son of Richard DeVos who co-founded Amway, one of the largest direct selling corporations in the US. Dick graduated with a bachelor’s in business, and later an MBA from Northwood University, and he spent most of his early career working at Amway. After his father retired, he took over as CEO and during his time running the company many new offices were opened in the Asian markets, and his final year saw profits generated in excess of $4 billion.

 

Today Dick and his wife Betsy run The Windquest Group, an investment firm with holdings in the technology, energy, and retail industries. But a great deal of their work has been done with the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. Through this foundation they have sponsored many conservative think tanks and reform groups such as the Education Freedom Fund, Mars Hill Bible Church, Hudson Institute, Heritage Foundation, and Willow Creek Association. Dick also has served as chair on the Grand Action Committee, a group that’s overseen building projects designed to revitalize downtown Grand Rapids such as building sports arenas, theaters, museums, and other large centers.

 

Both Dick and Betsy have been longtime activists in the Republican party, including contributing to former President Gerald R. Ford’s campaign, serving as chair of the state Republican party, and even running for office. Dick won election to the state board of education in 1990, and in 2006 tried to defeat incumbent Jennifer Granholm in the gubernatorial race, but just lost by a close margin. He also authored a New York Times bestselling book titled Rediscovering American Values, explaining how free market economics, good morals, and generosity helped make America prosperous and great.