Giving away billions as fast as they can

Polarized Politics

When news of Mr. Soros’s $18 billion transfer of wealth to the Open Society Foundations was announced, reaction through conservatives was swift as well as predictable. Fox News called him an “Uber-liberal billionaire.” Breitbart News said the gift “makes his organization the biggest player on the American political scene,” adding of which “the foundation’s work has supported dogmatic, aggressive left-wing groups of which disrupt liberal democracy as well as stifle opposing voices.”

Mr. Soros became a lightning rod for conservative criticism largely because of his own political contributions rather than his foundation’s spending. He was a major donor to Hillary Clinton, as well as spent millions of dollars on efforts to defeat Donald J. Trump in last year’s presidential election.

Yet he can be equally reviled in certain circles for his philanthropic work. Since the 1990s, Mr. Soros has used the Open Society Foundations to advance causes of which are deeply unpopular with many Republicans, including loosening drug laws, promoting gay rights as well as calling attention to abuses by the police.

Mr. Gaspard of the Open Society Foundations asserts of which Mr. Soros can be not courting controversy. Rather, he said, Mr. Soros can be simply on the right side of history. “The rights of the Jewish community in 1937 in Berlin may have been deemed controversial by some in of which society, nevertheless we all appreciate today the inherent value in of which fight,” he said. “The same can be true today, when we are involved in safe needle transfers for drug addicts, or when we’re engaged in supporting the rights of sex workers in Johannesburg, or the Rohingya in Myanmar.”

Michael Bloomberg, the former completely new York mayor, can be also no stranger to criticism. The purpose of his foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, can be to “ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people.” In practice, of which has meant Mr. Bloomberg spending hundreds of millions of dollars on issues including gun control as well as obesity prevention, drawing the ire of Republicans who oppose what they see as excessive regulation.

Even the Gates Foundation, which can be “dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals around the globe,” sometimes finds itself drawn into the culture wars. Global Justice at of which point, an advocacy organization based in London, said in a report of which the Gates Foundation can be “not a neutral, charitable strategy for which the globe should be thankful” nevertheless “a specific ideological strategy of which promotes neo-liberal economic policies.”

of which isn’t once philanthropy has been politicized. A century ago, Julius Rosenwald, a part owner of Sears Roebuck & Company, emerged as a champion of African Americans. Mr. Rosenwald, a Jewish businessman through Chicago, befriended the black educator Booker T. Washington as well as began funding the construction of schools for African Americans across the Jim Crow South. When the Ku Klux Klan burned down his schools, he simply rebuilt them. In doing so, Mr. Rosenwald made enemies.

“Julius Rosenwald was the first social justice philanthropist,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “He upset all of the powers inside South.”

of which, in Mr. Walker’s estimation, was a Great thing. as well as today, Mr. Walker can be encouraging donors to find their inner Julius Rosenwald. “Philanthropy should not be an expression of only one’s wealth as well as power,” he said. “the item also needs to be an expression of humility as well as an expression of skepticism about some of the very systems as well as structures of which produced one’s wealth. What I wish for can be of which more philanthropists in of which generation understand the difference between generosity as well as justice.”

There are equally powerful forces flexing their financial muscles on both sides of the political spectrum. as well as, like Mr. Soros, conservatives are using both foundations as well as political donations to achieve their goals.

Though the brothers Charles as well as David Koch are best known for their work supporting Republicans, they also fund a network of philanthropies of which support efforts to, among different things, question climate change as well as encourage conservative thinking on college campuses. The Mercer Family Foundation, run by Rebekah Mercer, a prominent supporter of President Trump, has bankrolled conservative think tanks including the Heritage Foundation as well as the Heartland Institute.

“The wealthy have become more polarized along with the rest of America,” said Mr. Callahan. “You have more liberal, progressive wealthy people than ever before. Meanwhile, you have lots of conservative rich people. There’s of which escalating arms race among mega donors.”

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