Open Society Foundations plan to significantly curtail their work in Europe and lay off much of their staff on the continent, the foundations’ leaders told staff in Berlin, according to an internal email and several current employees, who say the decision is painful and perplexing.
The planned European cuts, as described in an internal email viewed by The Associated Press, would represent a historic break with the roots of billionaire philanthropist George Soros’ support for civil society through education, human rights work and policy research, which started in his native Hungary more than three decades ago.
The strategic change coincides with Alex Soros, George’s son, announcing a shift to a new operating model the board adopted at the end of June, its first major move since he took over as head of OSF’s board of directors in December. Grantees in Europe say OSF has not directly communicated the proposed strategy change to them, contributing to a sense of disbelief.
“The Open Society Foundations is changing the way we work, but my family and OSF have long supported, and remain steadfastly committed to the European project,” Alex Soros said in a statement.
Source : AP News