There is no comprehensive record of Soros’ philanthropy in Central and Eastern Europe. The Open Society Institute, which now monitors and oversees the vast network of Soros foundations, did not become fully operational until 1995. As a result, much of Soros’ early philanthropy—that given out of pocket and that invested through one of his many private foundations—is difficult to trace, even for Soros himself. Furthermore, the Soros Foundations have not typically required, as a prerequisite for their grant-making, extensive documentation or analysis of problems to be solved and the specific uses to which donations have been put.
This case study seeks to document the efforts of George Soros, his network of foundations, and the grantees they have funded, to aid dissident movements behind the Iron Curtain in the 1980s, and later to help support throughout Central and Eastern Europe the transition to democracy and the rise of civil societies.