In 2004 the Presidential Election was nearly decided by the hard work of George Soros, a billionaire philanthropist and investor who chose to back progressive candidate Al Gore. That didn’t happen, of course, but it opened the doors to an exceedingly rare reality: a progressive billionaire who was willing to put his money where his ideals were and stump for his side accordingly. This has largely been a trademark of the right wing and Soros has become a boogeyman due to his rare nature. George Soros’ decision to return to politics after this extended hiatus is going to be a huge deal in the coming years, and it is one worth dissecting further.
George Soros made the decision to return to mainstream politics in large part because Republican nominee Donald Trump stood for and stumped on so many things that Soros found personally abhorrent and the antithesis of what he had spent his life working for. Soros personally showed his distaste for Donald Trump after finding Trump’s fear mongering to be so bad that it was literally doing the job for ISIS — words that Soros himself actually used. To say that Soros wanted to oppose Trump would be an understatement. Immediately Soros leaped into the fray and chose to back the progressive politicians that were running for office, including Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Read more on NYTimes.com.
Soros would go on to give a great deal of money to progressive politicians during the 2016 election, totaling up donations to nearly $25 million in total. Soros personally gave $7 million to a pro-Clinton PAC in order to kick start her fundraising as the race came down to the wire. The great thing about George Soros, however, is that he refuses to ignore the lesser politicians. Soros has been doing work on a global scale politically and he knows how important it is to ensure that each candidate has proper representation. Thanks to FEC records were we able to see the specific PACs that Soros gave to. Soros donated $2 million to American Bridge 21st Century, $700,000 to the Democratic Party, $5 million to Immigrant Voters Win and an additional $5 million to the voting Rights Trust. All of these PACs showcased the things that Soros finds important. Read his profile at Business Insider.
Michael Vachon, the political adviser for George Soros, knows that it is more important than ever for Soros to become active in the political landscape. Vachon reminds people that Soros didn’t jump in solely due to Donald Trump, however, as he also chose to jump in due to the already hostile atmosphere in the political realm. Soros also wanted to balance out the scales and break something of equality between the two parties, seeing as the right wing is almost completely beholden to the billionaire Koch Brothers.
George Soros is a renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist. To date, he has donated more than $12 billion to different initiatives. His funds support individuals and groups that advocate for freedom of expression, government transparency and accountability, justice reforms, and equality. He has been actively involved in fighting for the rights of the people, especially those who face discrimination. They include Europe’s Roma People and marginalized groups such as sex workers, drug abusers, and LGBTI. His vocal support for these people is driven by his firsthand experience of discrimination during the Nazi occupation in Hungary. George Soros was born in Hungary. During his formative years, the Jews were facing hostilities from the Nazi regime. More than 500,000 Hungarians died at the hands of the Nazis. George and his family were forced to acquire false identification documents to conceal their Jewish heritage. They also helped other Jewish families to disguise their identities. He recalled with triumph how they were strong willed to fight against the resistance. In the end, they survived the discriminate attacks. Visit Project Syndicate to learn more about George.
After accumulating huge amounts of money from his hedge fund, Soros created Open Society Foundation. Over the years, he has supported different organizations and initiatives whose agenda is to fight for the rights of the people and improve their livelihoods. Soros borrowed the idea of Open Society from a book authored by Karl Popper, a renowned philosopher. George Soros interacted with Karl while he studying at the London School of Economics. Karl Popper’s book, Open Society and its Enemies, states that societies can only thrive through democracy, respect for individual rights and freedom of expression. Open Society Foundation operates in over 100 countries, including the United States, Asia and Africa. Some of his charitable giving includes providing scholarships to black South African students during the apartheid, and supplying photocopiers to the Communist Eastern Bloc to print banned texts with the objective of encouraging the exchange of ideas. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Soros established the Central European University to promote critical thinking. The shrewd investor helped kick-start America’s medical marijuana movement. He is also a traditional supporter of paralegals and lawyers who represent thousands of individuals that have been held illegally. His philanthropic activities have extended beyond his foundation where he has supported independent organizations such as the International Crisis Group, Global Witness and the European Council of Foreign Relations.
When the communists consolidated power in the aftermath of war in 1947, George Soros and his family flew to London. He worked as a part-time railway porter and a waiter to raise funds his college education. After graduating from the prestigious London School of Economics, George relocated to the United States. Upon arrival, he secured job in the Wall Street. After working for a while, he established his own hedge fund called Soros Fund Management. Owing to his extensive knowledge and experience in investing and hedge fund, he was able to provide clients with innovative services. George Soros’ net worth is $24.5 billion. Today, Soros is one of the active investing heavyweights. Soros Fund Management has $30 billion worth of assets under its management.
Betsy DeVos is the 11th and current US Education Secretary. She is married to Dick DeVos with whom they have operated the Windquest Group from 1989. Betsy and her husband are well known for their political donations but these are nothing when compared to the charitable donations they have made. Together they formed the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation in 1989, which focuses on justice, arts, leadership development and education. I read that Dick and Betsy DeVos’ family has managed to contribute about $139 million to charitable organizations and causes over its lifetime. Visit their foundation at dbdvfoundation.org
A Look at Betsy DeVos’ Financial Giving
In the year 2015, Betsy DeVos’ family gave out $11.6 million to charity, according to a report on her family foundation’s website. According to data given by the family to Forbes, the whole extended DeVos family has so far contributed about $1.33 billion to charity. This is almost a quarter of the total estimated family fortune of $5.2 billion. Betsy and her husband have always given education the first priority. Educational causes benefited from $3 million in 2015, which accounted for 26% of their total contributions that year. In addition, the foundation also donated $357,000 (about 3%) to various groups that are in support of education reforms.
In 2013, Betsy DeVos and her family foundation donated huge funds to various schools, universities and colleges. The Grand Rapids-based Compass College of Cinematic Arts received $50,000, Northwood University (Dick DeVos alma mater $200,000), Potter’s House in Wyoming ($301,000), Rehoboth Christian School ($50,000), West Michigan Aviation Academy ($315,000), Detroit Charter School Company New Urban Learning ($25,000). These figures were lifted from the tax records of her family’s foundation. The foundation’s tax returns in 2014 however, do not have the same breakdown of donations. Betsy DeVos and her husband ensure that all their donations meet the criteria for charitable organizations, and they are aimed at helping people in a direct way. The family is well known for giving these donations without any strings attached on how it will be spent. Check her website for more info at betsydevos.com
About Betsy DeVos
Mrs. DeVos got her BA from the Calvin College based in Grand Rapids, MI. she has been a key player in the Republican National Convention and was at one time the party’s statewide chairwoman in the 90s. Betsy DeVos is an outspoken advocate especially on school vouchers and school choice matters. Mrs. DeVos has played an important role in developing the charter school system in Detroit. She plays an active role with a number of nonprofits for education reform and has been at the center of establishing several political action committees that support these goals. She is a renowned philanthropist and together with her husband they founded the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation back in 1989. She has served on the boards of John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and ArtPrize, an not-for-profit art competition that was founded by her son.