NEW YORK – Billionaire investor and financier of Democrat campaigns, George Soros, has transferred about $18 billion, the majority of his estimated fortune, to his Open Society Foundations, a network of political and philanthropic organizations. The transfer makes his foundations the second largest grant-making group in the U.S., according to media reports on Tuesday.
The foundations already controlled billions of dollars, but Soros, 87, has in recent years increased the pace of transfers from his hedge fund-turned-family office, Soros Fund Management LLC, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported earlier on Tuesday, citing Open Society officials.
Representatives for Open Society did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters.
Open Society Foundations says it was intended to use its resources globally to “build vibrant and tolerant democracies” and has given away nearly $14 billion since inception in 1979, according to its website.
However, Soros and the organization are best known for funding liberal causes and candidates including being a large contributor to the fund-raising Super PAC group backing Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton last year.
Hungarian-born Soros, who made a huge profit betting against an overvalued British pound in 1992, reportedly move the funds into Open Society Foundations to ensure that its work is funded in the event of his retirement or death.
Soros early this year hired former UBS Group AG asset management executive Dawn Fitzpatrick to serve as the latest chief investment officer for New York-based Soros Fund Management, which also manages money for Open Society. Soros also tapped Patrick Gaspard, former official with the Democratic National Committee and the Obama Administration, to take over as president of Open Society Foundations at the end of 2017.
Only the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is now larger than Open Society among U.S. grant-making groups, with an endowment of about $40 billion.
Soros is worth an estimated $23 billion, according to Forbes.
According to opensecrets.org, the $18 billion in funds is three times the amount spent by all campaigns and all parties in the 2016 elections.