Soros: Time for Philanthropists to Step Up in Public Sphere

Gives $200 to every underprivileged NY kid
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2009 12:41 PM CDT
Financial analyst George Soros speaks during a news conference at International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
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(Newser) – George Soros is giving $200 to each and every underprivileged kid in New York state, the billionaire announced today, for a total $35 million bill that will make the state eligible for another $140 million in stimulus money. Some have criticized it as a welfare-style handout, but Soros tells Time that the $200 seemed significant, but not so huge as to require conditions.

Soros says helping kids seems like a way to have a long-term impact, and notes that he himself once received charity as a teen. The stimulus money was another factor; Soros says he likes to “influence how public authorities spend their money.” Philanthropists, he says, “truly care,” while bureaucrats “try to protect their behinds from being criticized.” He added that in a time of recession “those who are in a better position ought to do more.”