Soros-Backed Foundation Invests $220 Million to Support Racial Justice

The organization founded by billionaire financier George Soros will pour $220 million into initiatives that seek to advance the cause of racial justice and equality.

The Soros-backed Open Society Foundations said in a press release Monday that the money would be channeled to organizations and leaders in Black communities across the country, aiming to boost efforts to sustain the momentum of the police reform and racial justice movement sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Floyds death in police custody in May led to mass protests, some of which were marred by looting and riots, igniting fears that radical activists were seeking to hijack what the Open Society Foundations calls the “nations historic movement towards racial justice.”

George Floyd
A man holds a picture of George Floyd during a Black Lives Matter protest in New York City on June 18, 2020. (Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

The aim of the $220 million investment is “to build power in Black communities, promote bold new anti-racist policies in U.S. cities, and help first-time activists stay engaged,” the organization said in a separate statement.

The foundation said it will invest $150 million in five-year grants for Black-led racial justice groups, while $70 million would be earmarked for a range of initiatives that include supporting local governments and organizations with technical expertise on “navigating municipal budgets” to help cities implement a new vision of public safety that includes “moving beyond the culture of criminalization and incarceration.”

“This is the time for urgent and bold action to address racial injustice in America,” Alex Soros, George Soross son and the deputy chair of the Open Society Foundations, said in a statement. “These investments will empower proven leaders in the Black community to reimagine policing, end mass incarceration, and eliminate the barriers to opportunity that have been the source of inequity for too long.”

Floyds death has given new impetus to police reform and efforts to further root out racism, something Attorney General William Barr said has been moving forward for years, although he rejected the notion that Americas institutions are “systemically racist.”

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