George Soros Gives $35 Million to Help Low-Income Students in New York State

George Soros Gives $35 Million to Help Low-Income Students in New York State

Financier and Open Society Institute founder George Soros has given $35 million to New York State to help provide "back-to-school" bonuses for low-income students, the New York Times reports.

Bonuses of $200 will be distributed to more than 850,000 students between the ages of 3 and 17 whose families received food stamps or were on welfare in July. The money will be directly transferred into families' welfare or food stamp accounts. The $175 million in bonuses also will be funded with $140 million from the federal government under a four-to-one matching program for needy families created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allots a total of $5 billion to provide food stamps, job training, housing subsidies, and other forms of basic assistance to needy families.

In response to the economic downturn, the Hungarian-born Soros created a $250 million fund dedicated to poverty alleviation efforts. The latest gift from the fund follows on the heels of a $50 million challenge grant to fight poverty in New York City, which Soros announced at the Robin Hood Foundation's annual fundraising gala in May. Together, those gifts suggest a new emphasis by Soros on poverty in his adopted city of New York.

"Most of my philanthropic giving has been abroad," Soros told the Times. "I feel like I should do more in these exceptional times in the United States."

Jennifer Lee. "Soros Gift Allows Bonuses to State's Needy Students." New York Times 08/08/2009.