Open Society Foundations, the nonprofit founded by billionaire George Soros, plans to cut at least 40% of its staff in the coming months.
The charity — which this month confirmed that Soros, 92, was handing control to his son Alex — said Friday that its board approved “significant changes” to its operating model. That includes “a substantial reduction in head count of no less than 40% globally,” a spokesperson said.
Soros has donated more than $32 billion to the nonprofit, which had more than 500 employees as of the end of 2021 and gives money to humanitarian and democratic causes ranging from criminal justice reform to climate change initiatives. It currently controls the majority of assets managed by his $25 billion family office.
“The board aims to transform operations across the global network, with the goal of generating a nimbler organization,” said a statement, signed by the younger Soros and the nonprofit’s president, Mark Malloch-Brown. “While Open Society works on these internal changes, the board remains firmly committed to the foundations’ core priorities — democracy, human rights, climate justice and addressing inequity.”
The nonprofit’s biggest expense in 2021 was compensation, according to its most recently available tax form. It spent almost $72 million on pay and $40 million on benefits and pension plans.
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Alex Soros, 37, said he’s “more political” than his father. He added that he was concerned about Donald Trump’s potential White House run.
“As much as I would love to get money out of politics, as long as the other side is doing it, we will have to do it, too,” he told the newspaper.
Alex Soros met recently with Biden administration officials, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to push for issues related to the family foundation, the Journal reported.
An internal email to managers on Friday shared resources and tips for communicating and supporting their teams during the changes, according to a copy seen by Bloomberg. These included a People and Culture Advisory Partner, Well-being in Uncertain Times workshops and an “upcoming Solidarity Spaces.”
George Soros, a native of Hungary, is known as a major supporter of liberal causes and Democratic politicians and has long been a target of the political right. He founded Soros Fund Management and earned a fortune by making outsize bets, including an infamous wager against the British pound. He converted the fund into a family office in 2011. His foundation has spent $19.1 billion so far.