His story is one of tragedy and triumph. Born in Hungary in 1930, he saw the occupation of the Nazis in his homeland that led to over half a million Jews being killed. This horrible situation developed Soros as a helper of others as oppose to a victim. He and his family assisted others in securing false identity papers to hide their heritage. After the war, Soros left for London to study economics. While there he was influenced by the philosophy of Karl Popper, who expressed the need for freedom of expression and individual rights in a truly productive society. After migrating to the United States and working at a few high powered Wall Street firms, he set up his own hedge fund in the early 1970’s called Soros Fund Management. Now known as the Quantum Fund Endowment, it has over $12 million in investments and has made him a multi-billionaire, one of the richest men in the world.
George Soros continues to apply the principles he learned from the teachings of Karl Popper to this day. Just a few years after starting his company, he created the Open Society Foundations, inspired by Popper’s book “The Open Society and It’s Enemies”. He started out by providing college scholarships for black South African students under the oppression of Apartheid. Soon after, he helped promote critical thinking in parts of Eastern Europe where communism was soon to tumble, providing photocopiers to reprint writings that were once banned in various nations. His willingness to go against the mainstream continues with efforts in the United States and beyond. A critic of the War On Drugs, he became an early advocate for the use of Medical Marijuana. The Open Society Foundations have also made education one of their main causes, assisting in the establishment of after-school programs in New York City and making significant financial contributions to the Russian University system. Read his profile at Forbes.
The basis of George Soros’ charitable work has always been to encourage a free thinking and inclusive society. In recent years, he has been a proponent of same sex marriage and gay rights. Now in his 80’s, he continues to travel and meet with world leaders on behalf of the foundations. After all, a visionary’s work is truly never done.