Liberal billionaire George Soros gave at least $33 million in one year to grassroots activist organizations at the center of the recent Ferguson, Mo., protest movement, according to The Washington Times.
"Buses of activists from the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference in Chicago; from the Drug Policy Alliance, Make the Road New York and Equal Justice USA from New York; from Sojourners, the Advancement Project and Center for Community Change in Washington; and networks from the Gamaliel Foundation - all funded in part by Mr. Soros - descended on Ferguson starting in August and later organized protests and gatherings in the city until late last month," reported the Times.
Groups funded by the 27th richest man in the world helped mobilize protests in Ferguson and build grassroots on-the-ground coalitions, even working to engineer social media campaigns and feed catchy editorials to the media to keep the story in the headlines.
Social media efforts such as the "Black Lives Matter" campaign were promoted by groups like Colorlines, an online race-focused news agency which received $200,000 from Soros in 2011 and "published tirelessly on the activities in Ferguson and heavily promoted the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and activities," the Times said.
Soros also gave $5.4 million to Ferguson and Staten Island, N.Y., activist groups to help "further police reform, accountability and public transparency," according to a blog post by the billionaire's non-profit group, the Open Society Foundation.
Kennethy Zimmerman, director of Open Society, spoke to the Times about the foundation's involvement in activism.
"Our DNA includes a belief that having people participate in government is indispensable to living in a more just, inclusive, democratic society," said Zimmerman. "Helping groups combine policy, research [and] data collection with community organizing feels very much the way our society becomes more accountable."
"The incidents, whether in Staten Island, Cleveland or Ferguson, were spontaneous protests - we don't have the ability to control or dictate what others say or choose to say," Zimmerman said. "But these circumstances focused people's attention - and it became increasingly evident to the social justice groups involved that what a particular incident like Ferguson represents is a lack of accountability and a lack of democratic participation."