Open Soceity Foundations to Increase Commitment to Global COVID-19 Response

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Open Soceity Foundations to Increase Commitment to Global COVID-19 Response

NEW YORK—As COVID-19 continues to devastate communities around the world, the Open Society Foundations today announced $70 million in global investments, focused on providing immediate relief for vulnerable communities and pushing back against government encroachment on political freedoms.

The new commitment supports work by an array of local partners in Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa. This follows on an initial emergency funding package of $130 million announced in April, bringing the total Open Society investment to combat COVID-19 around the world to $200 million.

Open Society’s funding will include support to organizations helping those hit hardest by the pandemic, including refugees, domestic and care workers, and others left behind by inadequate government responses. The support will also strengthen humanitarian responses in countries from El Salvador to Myanmar, support credible reporting on the crisis by independent media in local languages, and promote access to accurate information about public health and community safety.

“COVID-19 continues to ravage countries around the world, hitting hardest in communities with the least resources as a result of prolonged and entrenched inequities,” said Patrick Gaspard, president of the Open Society Foundations. “Too often, governments are slow to act in this pandemic, to protect those who need it most, and this pattern of inaction is longstanding. We see the terrible toll this virus has taken and are redoubling our efforts to help the global community adapt, and to seize this moment for change.”

The regional funding plans reflect an intensive ground-up effort by Open Society’s local national and regional foundations to identify priority goals, recognizing that in addition to the health care crisis, oppressive lockdown measures and economic shutdowns are causing as much hardship as the virus itself. The plans also reflect a response to the way that the pandemic is highlighting and aggravating preexisting racial, gender, and socioeconomic inequalities across the globe.

Both Latin America and the Caribbean, for example, have become centers of the pandemic, with numbers rising in several countries. Open Society’s regional strategy focuses on countering populist narratives and authoritarian power grabs in Brazil and El Salvador, as well as addressing the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on populations already experiencing structural inequalities, such as women, people of African descent, residents of favelas and peripheral communities, and indigenous peoples...

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