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Yacob Reyes
By Yacob Reyes April 18, 2022

Soros’ alleged support of Black Lives Matter resurges on social media

If Your Time is short

  • A representative for Soros’ Open Society Foundations told PolitiFact that it has not directly given money to the Black Lives Matter organization. 

  • The $33 million figure is old. It comes from a Washington Times article that pointed to Soros' donations to social justice groups, several of which were active before the founding of the Black Lives Matter organization.

Conservative commentators have tied liberal billionaire philanthropist George Soros to Black Lives Matter for years, long before the murder of George Floyd catapulted the group to the forefront of the struggle for racial justice.

Some claims lack any evidence — like when Candace Owens falsely said Soros was orchestrating protests after Floyd’s killing in summer 2020. 

Others require a closer look. That’s the case of another claim Owens made back in 2018 that portrays Soros as a major donor of Black Lives Matter.

The video was reshared on April 9, 2022, by Turning Point USA, a conservative advocacy group, with this caption: "Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens NAILED IT! Black Americans are sick of the hypocrisy and toxicity of BLM Inc!"  

The video was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Presented without a date, the four-minute clip shows Owens and Kirk, the group’s founder, taking questions from audience members at Stanford University. 

"I’ve been trying to look into Black Lives Matter," says a person who identified themselves as a Stanford freshman. "I’m learning that their movement is funded by George Soros."

"$33 million injected," Owens added.

Other websites and pundits like Owens have tossed out the $33 million donation figure over the years.

The figure comes from a Washington Times article published in 2015, amid protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown Jr., an 18-year-old Black man.

The Washington Times used tax filings for the Soros’ grant-making network, Open Society Foundations, to assert that Soros fueled a slew of protests in Ferguson that erupted after Brown’s death in 2014. 

When we asked Owens about her claim on April 13, she pointed to another story published by The Washington Times in 2016, which referenced the $33 million figure and the previous article. 

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There’s a big caveat: the latter article referred to contributions to the "Black Lives Matter movement." That’s distinct from the organization itself. (It also folded in other grants from liberal sources.)

An Open Society Foundations spokesperson told PolitiFact that the coverage "conflated a range of investments over a span of time as an immediate response to the deaths of Michael Brown Jr. and Freddie Gray." 

Black Lives Matter is a decentralized global network founded by three women — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.  Though "black lives matter" is also used as an umbrella term for the broader push for racial equality across the globe, other social justice groups that received money from Soros do not necessarily have a formal link to the network.

The organization’s global network foundation amassed over $90 million in donations in 2020, according to the Black Lives Matter impact report. (The group has recently garnered criticism over the purchase of a multi-million dollar mansion.)

As Snopes previously reported, the Soros-funded groups that The Washington Times pointed to were already established organizations. One is the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit founded in 2000 that aims to end the "war on drugs."

Open Society Foundations has not given money directly to the Black Lives Matter organization, the spokesperson said. However, it has funded organizations that are associated with the broader movement.

The latest connection PolitiFact found was the foundation’s 2018 grant of $279,860 to Release Leads, a London-based group that focuses on drug use education and policy reform. It also organizes events that feature the Black Lives Matter movement in the United Kingdom, among other advocacy groups.

Following Floyd’s murder in 2020, Open Society Foundations announced a $220 million investment for various groups, including the Equal Justice Initiative and Repairers of the Breach. Still, it did not fund the Black Lives Matter organization.

In her email to PolitiFact on April 14, Owens pointed to a partnership that the Tides Foundation, a left-leaning charity, announced with the Black Lives Matter organization to establish a support fund in 2020. Although the Tides Foundation did receive more than $600,000 from the Open Society Foundations in 2020, none of the grants were designated for the Black Lives Matter support fund. 

Our ruling

In a resurfaced Facebook clip, Owens said Soros injected "$33 million" into the Black Lives Matter organization. 

We found no evidence proving Soros or his foundation gave money directly to the Black Lives Matter organization. Previous reporting in 2015 and 2016 used the $33 million figure to refer to donations from the foundation to multiple groups involved with the cause of racial justice. 

The figure for Soros’ Black Lives Matter support is not credible, so we rate this claim False. 

Our Sources

Facebook post, April 9, 2022

Facebook post, May 29, 2018

Email interview with Candace Owens, April 12, 2022

Black Lives Matter, About us, accessed April 13, 2022

Drug Policy Alliance, About us, accessed April 13, 2022

ProPublica, Open Society Institute 990-PFF 2014, accessed April 13, 2022

Open Society Foundations, George Soros, accessed April 12, 2022

Open Society Foundations, Awarded Grants Database, accessed on April 12, 2022

Email interview with Open Society Foundations’ communications officer, April 12, 2022

Open Society Foundations, Racial Justice in the United States, accessed on April 12, 2022

Tides Foundation, Tides welcomes Black Lives Matter as a new partner, July 2, 2020

PolitiFact, No, George Soros and his foundations do not pay people to protest, June 1, 2020

Snopes, Did George Soros Fund Ferguson Protests and Black Lives Matter, Jan. 22, 2015

The New York Times, George Soros’ foundation pours $220 million into racial equality push, July 13, 2020

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Soros’ alleged support of Black Lives Matter resurges on social media

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