Open Society Foundations – Grants, Scholarships and Fellowships for Individuals and Organizations

Photo credit: © Bruce Weller for the Open Society Foundations

Social Capital | Open Society FoundationsOpen Society Foundations, better known as Open Society, is founded by billionaire George Soros.  Its objective is to work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.  It seeks to strengthen the rule of law; respect for human rights, minorities, and a diversity of opinions; democratically elected governments; and a civil society that helps keep government power in check.  It helps to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights.  Open Society implements initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media.

Over the last 30 years, the Open Society Foundations had expenditures of more than $8 billion. Much of this spending has been directed at specific priority issues and regions for the Open Society Foundations such as:

  • $976 million on democratic development in the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union;
  • $527 million for public health issues such as HIV and AIDS, TB, palliative care, harm reduction, and patients’ rights;
  • $163 million to fight discrimination and advance the rights of Roma communities in Europe;
  • $1.9 billion to defend human rights, particularly the rights of women, ethnic, racial, and religious minorities, and often marginalized groups such as drug users, sex workers, and LGBTQ communities;
  • $1.7 billion for education projects ranging from preschool to higher education reform;
  • $1 billion to promote reform in the United States on issues such as criminal justice, drugs, palliative care, education, immigration, equal rights, and democratic governance.

There are numerous grants, scholarships, and programs in numerous areas throughout the world.  Please be sure to take a look at the various  programs below.  In addition, you may want to seek an opportunity to join the organization.  Open Society awards grants, scholarships and fellowships throughout the year.  On their website, you can leverage the search portal for find the right grant for you as an individual or organization.

For example, one grant category is the Campaign for Black Male Achievement.  The Open Society Campaign for Black Male Achievement aims to create hope and opportunities for black men and boys who are significantly marginalized from U.S. economic, social, and political life.  The campaign seeks to treat black males like Lani Guiner’s “miner’s canary,” a critical signal to our society that we cannot exclude and subjugate broad segments of our citizenry without damaging democracy and open society values for all. Through the campaign, the Open Society Foundations seek to confront a formidable challenge to an open society.

Open Society Foundations
400 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019

Phone: (212) 548-0600
Fax: (212) 548-4600

Open Society Programs


AfriMAP works with national partners and civil society groups to compile systematic country reports on governance issues, using a framework linking respect for human rights to progress in development.

The Arts and Culture Program carries out its mission principally by working to strengthen the autonomous cultural sector as an essential element of civil society.
The At Home in Europe Project explores the political, social, cultural, and economic participation of Muslims and other marginalized groups in Western Europe via engagement with residents, civil society, and policymakers.
The Burma Project/Southeast Asia Initiative supports civil society efforts to advance free expression, ensure government accountability and justice, and empower marginalized groups to exercise their rights.
The Central Eurasia Project develops programs and international campaigns that use policy research and advocacy to shape debates on significant economic, political, social, and security challenges facing the region.
Through grants and exhibitions, the Documentary Photography Project supports photography to engage and mobilize people around issues of justice and human rights.
The Open Society Early Childhood Program promotes the healthy development of young children through parent and community engagement, professional development, and government accountability.
East East Beyond Borders supports collaborative initiatives of nongovernmental and civil society organizations in two or more countries.

The Education Support Program helps marginalized communities gain access to the skills and critical thinking that prepare them to actively engage in open societies.

Prohibition-based policies have led to a rise in drug-related violence, prison overcrowding, and an increase in HIV epidemics. The Global Drug Policy Program supports organizations that put forward alternatives.

The Human Rights and Governance Grants Program makes grants to support human rights, accountability, and rule of law in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Mongolia.

The Information Program uses new tools and techniques to empower civil society groups in their international, national, and local efforts to promote open society.

The International Higher Education Support Program nurtures capacity and leadership at universities to enable well-informed, vigorous social deliberation.

The International Migration Initiative seeks to address systemic exploitation, discrimination, and violence against migrants at every stage of their journey.

Through grantmaking and advocacy, the International Women’s Program supports efforts to reduce discrimination and violence against women, strengthen access to justice, and promote women’s empowerment.

Through grantmaking and advocacy efforts, the Latin America Program supports the work of civil society organizations and their constructive engagement in the development, implementation, and oversight of public policies.

Making the Most of EU Funds for Roma is an instrument to connect the objectives of the Decade of Roma Inclusion to EU financial resources, and thus support European governments in realizing the targets of the Roma Decade.

The Media Program enables independent media to deliver quality content for the public good by promoting freedom of expression, professional and ethical standards, watchdog journalism, and diverse voices.

The Open Society Fellowship selects leading practitioners in journalism, advocacy, public policy, academia, and the arts who are able to engage productively with the Foundations.

Through litigation, advocacy, research, and technical assistance, the Open Society Justice Initiative promotes human rights and builds legal capacity for open societies.

The Public Health Program works to strengthen the capacity of marginalized populations to advocate for better health policies and practices. We also push for greater government accountability in health care.

The Regional Policy Initiative on Afghanistan & Pakistan provides targeted, expert research and advocacy support to address the unique challenges to open society values arising from conflict and insecurity in the region.

The Rights Initiatives program seeks to advance rights agendas by strengthening civil society groups through a combination of core and project funding, networking and exchange, and peer learning opportunities.

Roma Initiatives provide grants, fellowships, and training to stimulate Roma community participation and active citizenship, empower Roma women and youth, and combat anti-Roma discrimination.

Through a network of partners, the project supports innovative independent initiatives that expand public space in Russia and spotlight Russian voices in global debates.

The Scholarship Programs aim to promote critical thinking, free and open intellectual inquiry, and cross-cultural tolerance and respect.

The Think Tank Fund of the Open Society Foundations supports democratic processes through core and institutional grants, research projects to improve democratic governance and tackle intolerance, and a variety of fellowship, internship and peer exchange opportunities.

The work of U.S. Programs focuses on the most vulnerable communities and the most significant threats to open society, with an emphasis on criminal justice, racial equality, and accountability in government.

Through grantmaking and support for debate programs, the Youth Initiative works to engage students and youth from all backgrounds in policy issues critical to their future.

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