Thanks to the amazing Sacha Brakenbury, I came across this brilliant organisation today ‘Open Society Foundations’, and have submitted a letter of interest to them. It looks to be exactly the kind of thing we are after as Oceans Project Georgia, but could easily apply to many international projects seeking funding, such as ours.
This is what they say about themselves:
“The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, the Foundations seek to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the Open Society Foundations implement a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, we build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities”.
The Founder and Chairman is a man named George Soros and it would be fair to say that he has lived a thousand lives already. Just look at what wikipedia has to say about him:
“Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary to Tivadar (also known as Teodoro) and Elizabeth Soros. Tivadar Soros, a Hungarian Jew, had been a prisoner of war during and after World War I until he escaped from Russia and rejoined his family in Budapest. Tivadar was an Esperantist writer and taught George to speak Esperanto from birth. Soros later said that he grew up in a Jewish home and that his parents were cautious with their religious roots. Soros was thirteen years old in March 1944 when Nazi Germany occupied Hungary. Soros took a job with the Jewish Council, which had been established during the Nazi occupation of Hungary, to carry out Nazi and Hungarian government anti-Jewish measures.Soros later described this time to writer Michael Lewis:
The Jewish Council asked the little kids to hand out the deportation notices. I was told to go to the Jewish Council. And there I was given these small slips of paper … It said report to the rabbi seminary at 9 am … And I was given this list of names. I took this piece of paper to my father. He instantly recognized it. This was a list of Hungarian Jewish lawyers. He said, “You deliver the slips of paper and tell the people that if they report they will be deported.”
Later that year, at age 14, Soros lived with and posed as the godson of an employee of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture. The official once was ordered to inventory the remaining contents of the estate of a wealthy Jewish family that had fled the country; rather than leave the young Soros alone in the city, the official brought him along. The next year, 1945, Soros survived the Battle of Budapest, in which Soviet and German forces fought house-to-house through the city.
Soros emigrated to England in 1947 and, as an impoverished student, lived with his uncle, an Orthodox Jew. His uncle paid his living expenses while he attended the London School of Economics, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Philosophy in 1952. While a student of the philosopher Karl Popper, Soros worked as a railway porter and as a waiter. AUniversity tutor requested aid for Soros, and he received GB£40 from a Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) charity. In a discussion at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council in 2006, Alvin Shuster, former foreign editor of the Los Angeles Times, asked Soros, “How does one go from an immigrant to a financier? … When did you realize that you knew how to make money?” Soros replied, “Well, I had a variety of jobs and I ended up selling fancy goods on the sea side, souvenir shops, and I thought, that’s really not what I was cut out to do. So, I wrote to every managing director in every merchant bank in London, got just one or two replies, and eventually that’s how I got a job in a merchant bank.” That job was an entry-level position in Singer & Friedlander.
Soros supportsprogressive-liberal causes. He is known as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England” because of his US$1 billion in investment profits during the 1992 Black Wednesday UK currency crisis.
Between 1979 and 2011, Soros gave away over $8 billion to human rights, public health, and education causes. He played a significant role in the peaceful transition from communism to capitalism in Hungary (1984–89), and provided Europe’s largest higher education endowment to Central European University in Budapest. Soros is also the chairman of the Open Society Institute.”
We have to wait now, to hear back on our letter of interest, but it looks to be the fund which best fits our projects so far, and the sooner we get funding for each individual project, the sooner we can really start to help our young people in achieving their dreams. Here is a video about the Open Society Foundation:
In the meantime, I’m still waiting to hear back on our Crowdfunder pitch and will bring you news as and when it is up and we can start raising money. I also want to leave you with a video made by our Shark Conservation in Belize team, who made me cry when they showed me this video they had made. They have made it in the hopes of attracting funding for their summer expedition, and it fascinates me to think what will become of them in the future and the major impact they may end up having on Georgia in the future. As you watch it, just remember that English is their second language and they are around 12 years old, they have been learning film making skills as part of Oceans Project, and many of them are refugees, orphans, and from poor backgrounds, who have never had the chance to travel outside of Georgia. They were all born during civil war in Georgia, yet they are so positive and creative, and I hope that you enjoy their short video as much as I did when they showed it to me….I have a feeling we can expect great things from them in the future!
Open Society Foundation: http://www.soros.org/about