87 years old Hungarian born billionaire and founder of the ‘Open Society Foundations’, George Soros is one of few billionaires who understand what it actually means to give back to the society. The billionaire investor whose present net worth is valued at twenty five billion dollars by Forbes is alleged by ‘Open Society Foundations’, a social justice and philanthropic organization he founded, to have spent well over twelve billion dollars to date on philanthropic causes. This rare level and magnitude of generosity makes George Soros one of the foremost philanthropists in the world. Soros specifically targets organizations and individuals across the world promoting accountable governance, transparency, freedom of expression, education, justice and equality. From groups representing LGBTI, to sex workers, drug users, ex-convicts, to groups representing Europe’s Roma people, to groups promoting liberal political ideas, George Soros apparently has a soft spot for the less privilege and loves to support causes he believes in with all he has. Read more about George at The New York Times.
In the area of business, George Soros cut his teeth as a big business man in the early 1900’s when he traded against the British Pounds, earning him regards and comparison with great business men like Warren Buffet and J.P. Morgan. His bet against the British Pounds allegedly broke the Britain’s monetary system and he bagged over a billion dollars in this period. Soros repeated the same stunt during the Asia financial crisis, which raised concerns from certain quarters labeling Soros as a business man who capitalizes on catastrophe, with the then Malaysian prime minster accusing Soros of being responsible for the fall of their currency by about 15%. Soros left Hungary in 1947 for England where he read philosophy under the tutelage of Karl Popper at the London School of Economics.
Soros worked as a night-club waiter and later worked as a railway porter to see himself through school. Upon his graduation, he wrote to the managing director of all the merchant banks in London, seeking interviews but only got about two replies (according to Reuters). Of all the other low points to choose from, Soros always describes the period after graduating from school as the low-point of his life, as he was humiliated at several job interviews. Soros began his professional career as a salesman in a fancy-goods wholesale company. Eventually, Soros was got a Clerk job at ‘Singer & Friedlander’, a London Merchant bank, whose managing director was Hungarian. Soros later moved to New York early 1950’s and secured a job with F.M. Mayer and later working in various firms as a stock trader and analyst before establishing his own company in 1970, (Soros Fund Management). Investment veterans like Stanley Druckenmiller and Jim Rogers worked for Soros before moving on to establish their own company.
According to Open Society Foundation, Soros started his philanthropy significantly in 1979 by giving out scholarships and basic aids to black South Africans facing apartheid, before contributing heavily to open exchange of ideology in the Eastern bloc of the Communist by sponsoring the purchase of photocopiers to reprint banned text.
It probably wouldn’t be out of place to assume that the kindness George Soros expresses towards the less privilege is born of the fact that he witnessed intolerance and oppression firsthand while growing up during the Nazi occupation of Hungary in 1944/45, which led to the death of over 400,000 Hungarian Jews. Soros and his nuclear family were able to escape using false documents to conceal their identity and helping hundreds of others to do the same. This horrible experience probably explains how Soros developed the ideals of being kind and empathetic to the oppressed. The Open Society Foundation has been the main avenue Soros has used in his philanthropy operation till date.
Soros has always been critical of Republican policies, from the Iraqi war in the W. Bush era to the Donald Trump executive orders which he deems separatist and anti-democracy. According to beneficiaries of his kindness, they say the world will be a better place if all billionaires where like Soros. Know more on cnbc.com about George Soros.