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Click on a topic below to view a question and answer about the Open Society Institute and the Soros foundations network. For more information, please visit the Overview page.
What is the Open Society Institute?
What is the Soros foundations network?
What is an "open society"?
What kind of work does OSI focus on?
In what countries does OSI operate?
Where are OSI’s offices?
How is the Open Society Institute funded?
How can I apply for a grant, fellowship or scholarship?
Do OSI and the Soros foundations network form partnerships with other organizations?
Who is George Soros?
Is George Soros involved in OSI’s work?
How do I contact George Soros?
What is OSI's position on "democracy promotion"?
What are the annual expenditures of OSI and the Soros foundations network?
Can I make a donation to OSI?
How is OSI registered with tax authorities?
Does OSI have an ombudsman?
What is Central European University?
What is the Open Society Institute?
A detailed description of the Open Society Institute (OSI) may be found in the Overview section of the website.
What is the Soros foundations network?
A detailed description of the Soros foundations network may be found in the Overview section of the website.
What is an "open society"?
An open society is a society based on the recognition that nobody has a monopoly on the truth, that different people have different views and interests, and that there is a need for institutions to protect the rights of all people to allow them to live together in peace. Broadly speaking, an open society 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.
The term "open society" was popularized by the philosopher Karl Popper in his 1945 book Open Society and Its Enemies. Popper's work deeply influenced George Soros, the founder of the Open Society Institute, and it is upon the concept of an open society that Soros bases his philanthropic activity.
What kind of work does OSI focus on?
OSI funds a range of programs around the world, from public health to education to business development. Most of the programs are administered by individual OSI initiatives in tandem with Soros foundations in various countries and regions. For more information on the kind of programs funded by OSI, visit the Initiatives section of the website.
In what countries does OSI operate?
OSI and the Soros foundations network are active in more than 50 countries around the world. For more information, visit the Soros foundations section of the website or select a region from the "Where We Work" navigational bar at the top of every page on the website.
Where are OSI’s offices?
OSI's two main offices are in New York City and Budapest. It also has offices elsewhere in the world; visit the OSI Offices section of the website for more information.
How is the Open Society Institute funded?
The Open Society Institute and Soros foundations network are funded by George Soros personally and by philanthropic trusts established by the Soros family.
How can I apply for a grant, fellowship or scholarship?
Information about how to apply for a grant or fellowship from any of the Open Society Institute’s initiatives may be found in the Grants, Scholarships & Fellowships section of the website.
Do OSI and the Soros foundations network form partnerships with other organizations?
Yes. Partnerships and joint ventures with the Open Society Institute are generally formed at the initiative level. For more information, visit the Initiatives section of the website and select an individual initiative.
For information on partnerships with individual Soros foundations, visit the Soros foundations section of the website and select an individual foundation.
Who is George Soros?
George Soros is the founder and chairman of the Open Society Institute and the Soros foundations network. For more information, visit the Bios section of the website.
Is George Soros involved in OSI’s work?
George Soros is not involved in the day-to-day management of the Open Society Institute or Soros foundations network. However, he does play a role in setting broad policy goals in his capacity as chairman of OSI, the network, and other related programs and institutions such as Central European University.
How do I contact George Soros?
We do not provide contact information for George Soros or his investment companies. For more information on how to contact the Open Society Institute, visit the Contact Us section of the website.
What is OSI's position on "democracy promotion"?
The following statement sets out the position of the Open Society Institute (OSI) and its related foundations on what is some times referred to as “democracy promotion.” We present both the guidelines which OSI follows in its own operations and grantmaking and the views of OSI as to what governments should do to best promote democracy and respect for human rights abroad.
OSI works to promote open societies around the globe including in Europe and the United States. It does so primarily by supporting over the long term individuals and groups working to establish or improve an open society in their country. In deciding which groups or individuals to support and for what purposes, OSI seeks guidance from local advisors. Often this is done by supporting the creation of a local foundation with a local board and staff which work according to their own priorities. Some of the activities that OSI often supports—such as promoting open, inclusive and accountable governance practices at all levels of government, promoting a vigorous civil society, promoting a free press and freedom of information, creating an accountable police force or supporting an independent judiciary—may be considered “democracy promotion” activities,. From OSI’s perspective, these are essential elements of an open society.
More on OSI and "democracy promotion."
What are the annual expenditures of OSI and the Soros foundations network?
Total expenditures by OSI and the Soros foundations network currently average between $400 million and $500 million a year.
Can I make a donation to OSI?
OSI accepts donations from individuals and organizations in certain circumstances. You may request specific information about donating by contacting OSI directly. For more information, see the Contact Us section of the website.
How is OSI registered with tax authorities?
The Open Society Institute is exempt from United States income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Soros foundations network offices outside of the United States and individual Soros foundations are registered according to the tax laws of the countries where they are based.
In the United States, George Soros has established, and funds separately from OSI, a nonpartisan public policy organization known as the Open Society Policy Center (“OSPC”). OSPC is organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. For more information, visit the Open Society Policy Center’s website.
Does OSI have an ombudsman?
Yes. Below is the official description of the ombudsman's scope and responsibilities.
OSI established the post of ombudsman in 1997 to serve as a means for addressing complaints, from within and without the Soros foundations network, about acts or practices that appear to constitute abuses of authority by the Soros foundations themselves, by OSI-Budapest, or by those parts of OSI-New York that serve the network.
The ombudsman investigates the complaints she receives at her discretion, and reports her findings to the OSI-Budapest board of directors as she considers appropriate. Where necessary, OSI supports the work of the ombudsman by providing her with investigative assistance. Matters that can be dealt with by other grievance mechanisms within OSI are referred to those grievance mechanisms for resolution. For example, the ombudsman does not deal with employee grievances or with disagreements about the merits of a grant or programming decision. Rather, the ombudsman’s primary responsibility is to investigate accusations of rudeness, negligence, dishonesty, or other abuses dealing with grant applicants, other parts of the network, partner organizations, or the general public.
The position of OSI ombudsman is held currently by Irena Veisaite; in the past, she has served both as the chairman of the Open Society Fund–Lithuania board and as a member of OSI-Budapest’s board. Contact information for Veisaite is as follows:
Open Society Fund–Lithuania
Didzioji str. 5
2001 Vilnius
Lithuania
Tel: 37-02-685511
Fax: 37-02-685512
Email: irena@osf.lt
What is Central European University?
Established by George Soros in Budapest, Hungary in 1991, Central European University (CEU) is an internationally recognized institution of post-graduate education in social sciences and humanities. CEU seeks to contribute to the development of open societies in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union by promoting a system of education in which ideas are creatively, critically, and comparatively examined.
The Open Society Institute's Budapest office is located within the CEU complex in Budapest. However, OSI and CEU are funded from different sources and are not formally linked with each other.
For more information, visit Central European University's website.
  
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