By Mission Investors Exchange
In 2016, Open Society Foundations founder and chair George Soros announced a pledge to invest up to $500 million in startups, established companies, and other businesses founded by migrants and refugees. This allocation is in addition to its existing grant and program-related investments, which total over $570 million, as of 2017.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Soros said that his actions were in response to the Obama administration’s appeal to the private sector to answer the challenges of forced migration and the needs of refugees. The investments will be owned by Open Society Foundations (OSF), and their profits will fund OSF programs, including those that benefit migrants and refugees. Soros also said he would work with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Rescue Committee, among others, to establish principles to guide the investments.
“We will seek investments in a variety of sectors, among them emerging digital technology, which seems especially promising as a way to provide solutions to the particular problems that dislocated people often face,” noted Soros.
One of the investments planned under this allocation is a joint venture between Soros and Mastercard, called Humanity Ventures. Humanity Ventures is intended to be a social enterprise designed to to spark economic and social development for vulnerable communities around the world, especially refugees and migrants. Humanity Ventures would serve as an independent business would initially combine solutions designed to expand access to healthcare and education, foster local economic development and entrepreneurship, and enhance the delivery of aid. One such solution is the Mastercard Aid Network, an award winning digital voucher platform designed in partnership with humanitarian organizations.
Humanity Ventures plans to combine existing global health and development solutions to expand access to healthcare and education, improve local economic development and entrepreneurship. and improve the delivery of humanitarian aid. Through Humanity Ventures, Soros may invest up to $50 million. The organization could also serve as an incubator and accelerator for smaller projects committed to mitigating the migration crisis.