The persistent rumor that the Black Lives Matter movement has been funded by George Soros may be coming to an end. In a recent article for The Daily Beast, writer Ben Collins provided evidence refuting this popular conspiracy theory. The amount of $33 million was supposedly given by Soros’ philanthropic organization, Open Society Foundation, to three women with ties to both the charity and the activist group.
In the article, the director of the U.S. branch of the Open Society Foundation, Ken Zimmerman, flatly denied the legitimacy of the rumors. The reality is that the women in question Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi, did originally tweet the now popular hashtag #blacklivesmatter. However, they did so on their own to draw attention to cases like the acquittal of the admitted killer of teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida. To date, the movement has gained prominence and moral support from many around the country, but remains a fluid group of numerous individuals, not an actual organized activist movement.
While Zimmerman admitted that donations have been made to groups focusing on the same work the movement has inspired, it has not made any large donations to anyone operating under that name. Because there is no structured Black Lives Matter group, it would be impossible to do so. The most direct contact Soros’ charity has had with the original trio has been in arranging a meeting between actor Danny Glover and Patrice Cullors.
Where commentators, like Bill O’Reilly, originally came up with the amount of $33 million is believed to have been from a report in the Washington Times. In that report the 2014 domestic expenditures of The Open Society Foundation is stated as that exact amount. However, those donations were given to multiple charities addressing a number of different causes. The author of that report, Kelley Riddell, appeared on the O’Reilly Factor when the host made the claim and apparently did nothing to dispute his statement.
Soros’ group provided over $800 million in 2014, to assist causes around the world. The billionaire philanthropist, estimated to be worth over $24 billion, began The Open Society Foundation in 1993 and is currently acting Chairman of the organization. He is best known as the “Man who broke the Bank of England”, thanks to a shrewd investment in 1992 that netted him nearly $2 billion in one day.
Soros, the richest hedge fund manager in the world, was born in Hungary and moved to London as a teenager, after surviving the Nazi occupation of his hometown during WWII. He worked in a number of fields until finally finding his talent in the banking industry. He is a well-known supporter of liberal-leaning causes and Democratic candidates in the United States. His foundation was created to encourage corporations and governments to remain transparent and to protect the members of society who lack the financial means to do so for themselves.