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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Billionaire George Soros Donates $100 Million

Billionaire George Soros will make a $100 million dollar challenge grant to Human Rights Watch, which is the largest he's ever made to a non-governmental organization. Soros' organization, Open Society Foundations, will distribute the grant over the course of 10 years. The grant challenges the organization to raise an additional $100 million through private donors. Human Rights Watch works to protect and promote human rights around the world. A statement from Soros in the press release read: "Human rights underpin our greatest aspirations: they're at the heart of open societies."

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George Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1930. His father was taken prisoner during World War I and eventually fled from captivity in Russia to reunite with his family in Budapest. Soros was thirteen years old when Hitler's Wehrmacht seized Hungary and began deporting the country's Jews to extermination camps. In 1946, as the Soviet Union was taking control of the country, Soros attended a conference in the West and defected. He emigrated in 1947 to England, supported himself by working as a railroad porter and a restaurant waiter, graduated in 1952 from the London School of Economics, and obtained an entry-level position with an investment bank.

In 1956, Soros immigrated to the United States, working as a trader and analyst until 1963. During that time, he developed his own theory of markets called 'reflexivity', which he has laid out in his recent books THE ALCHEMY OF FINANCE and THE CREDIT CRISIS OF 2008 AND WHAT IT MEANS. In 1967 he helped establish an offshore investment fund; and in 1973 he set up a private investment firm that eventually evolved into the Quantum Fund, one of the first hedge funds, through which he accumulated a vast fortune.