Open Society Foundations founder and chair George Soros has pledged to invest up to $500 million to address challenges posed by the global refugee crisis.
Writing in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal, Soros said that in response to the Obama administration's appeal to the private sector to help meet the challenges posed by forced migration, he would "earmark $500 million for investments that specifically address the needs of migrants, refugees, and host communities...[and] invest in startups, established companies, social-impact initiatives, and businesses founded by migrants and refugees themselves." The investments — which are in addition to OSF's existing commitments in the area — will be made by Soros's nonprofit organizations through Soros Fund Management, and any profits will be used to fund OSF programs, including those that benefit migrants and refugees. Soros also said he would work with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Rescue Committee, among others, to establish principles to guide the investments.
"We will seek investments in a variety of sectors, among them emerging digital technology, which seems especially promising as a way to provide solutions to the particular problems that dislocated people often face," wrote Soros. "Advances in this sector can help people gain access more efficiently to government, legal, financial and health services." The White House has announced that it has secured commitments totaling $650 million from fifty-one companies in support of the education, employment, and "enablement" of refugees.
In conjunction with the United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants, OSF, UNHCR, and the government of Canada have announced a joint initiative aimed at increasing private sponsorship of refugees around the world and, to that end, will create a series of training modules aimed at building the capacity of the private sector to adapt and implement private sponsorship programs.
"There are millions of people across the world who want to do more to help welcome refugees," said Soros. "Private sponsorship is a proven way to engage individuals, community groups, and companies to directly contribute to refugee protection, and I hope others will also be interested in supporting this new joint initiative's objectives."