The foundations created by investor and philanthropist George Soros support the development and maintenance of "open societies" in more than thirty countries. Areas of focus include Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Guatemala, Haiti, and Southern Africa. The foundations provide funding for a wide array of initiatives concerned with arts and culture, children and youth, civil society development, economic reform, education, legal reform, media and communications, and health care.
Purpose of Site:
To provide detailed information about the foundations' programs around the world; links to resources and information on countries with active Soros foundations; and the articles, speeches, and writings of George Soros. Grantseekers may also use the site to research gifts that have been awarded for specific initiatives in the past and guidelines for submitting a proposal for funding.
After graduating from the London School of Economics, Hungarian-born businessman George Soros moved to the United States in 1956 and began accumulating a large fortune through an international investment fund he founded and managed. In 1979, he started his first foundation, the Open Society Fund, in New York City. The term "open society" was a term popularized by philosopher Karl Popper, who had a profound effect on Soros, and refers to a society that is characterized by a reliance on the rule of law, the existence of a democratically elected government, a diverse and vigorous civil society, and respect for minorities and minority opinions. Soros established his first national foundation in Hungary in 1984 and has continued to expand his efforts to encourage "open societies" in countries that are struggling to emerge from decades of totalitarian government or poverty.
The home page is a clear and concise gateway to the immense Soros Foundations Network Web site, which has information on hundreds of programs and grants. The bar across the top offers a pull down menu with links to general resources such as the foundations' annual reports; a directory with contact information for the numerous Soros programs; and information on the network itself and George Soros. From the top of the home page, users can also search the site with a key word and access a site map/index of the Soros activities included on the Web site. The body of the page provides links to the various foundations, grants, and programs, as well as to the Open Society Institute and the Central European University, which was also founded by Soros. In addition, news and articles about current events around the world are prominently displayed.
The Soros Foundations Network site's most impressive feature is its area for grantseekers. After clicking on the grants link, users are whisked to a page with three options: inquiry, research, or apply. Each option takes users through a step-by-step process, allowing them to reach the information they seek. For example, after selecting "inquiry," site visitors are asked if they are looking for grants for individuals or organizations, then they identify the country of interest, which leads to a pull-down menu of the Soros programs available in that country. This area of the site also allows previous grants to be searched by subject, region, the year funding was approved, key word, or grantee name. Grantseekers can also submit a proposal for funding over the Web using a convenient online form.
To read about the Soros foundations' efforts to support their various initiatives, users can visit the "Network Programs" area of the site and choose a particular category such as arts and culture or media. The site offers an article with a general overview of Soros' efforts in the area and a link to Web sites of the individual Soros organizations involved. Another great feature of the Soros site is the extensive site map/index, which is available on every page throughout the site.