Non-profit

Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF)

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

13-3965896

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $63,674,610
Expenses: $7,094,079
Assets: $120,687,001

Type:

Private Grantmaking Foundation

Latest Filing:

2018 Form 990

The Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF) is a private grant-making “impact investing” foundation based in New York. Founded in 1997, the Fund is associated with the Open Society Foundations (OSF) created and funded by left-of-center billionaire George Soros, and is part of the OSF Economic Justice Program (EJP). EJP uses SEDF to handle its investments. [1]

Despite its OSF affiliation, many of the Fund’s donations are apolitical.

Open Society Foundation Economic Justice Program

As part of the OSF Economic Justice Program, the Fund is used to accomplish apolitical and left-of-center goals across the world. Its several core areas of public policy and cultural concern include climate change and high taxes on corporations and the wealthy. The EJP also fights corruption and seeks greater female equality, though it has been accused of pushing a left-of-center agenda as part of anti-corruption efforts. [2][3]

In 2012, SEDF provided $6 million to CleanStar Mozambique, which teaches farmers sustainable agriculture practices.

In 2013, SEDF provided $10 million to the Aspada Investment Company, a firm investing in education, healthcare, and financial services in India. The donation was at least the second major Indian investment by SEDF, which in 2008 joined a group of influential organizations to provide capital to early-stage businesses in agriculture, education, and other areas of focus. [4]

In 2014, SEDF invested $5 million in GADCO, a Ghanaian agriculture company working on boosting rice production. [5]

In 2019, SEDF invested $10 million in the Cepheus Capital Growth Fund in Ethiopia with the stated goal of creating jobs for young people and women. [6]

In June 2020, SEDF committed to a partnership with the InsuResilience Investment Fund, which invests in emerging markets around the world. [7]

SEDF partners with Select Africa, a financial services company operating in several African countries. [8]

Investigation

In 2017, conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch sued the State Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for failing to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests concerning Soros Economic Development Fund funding of a USAID project in Albania. [9] Judicial Watch accused SEDF and the Obama-era USAID of funding not the stated goal of better courts in Albania, but rather left-of-center judicial priorities and related publicity for those efforts. In 2017, several U.S. Senators wrote a letter to the State Department expressing concern over the partnership in Albania and elsewhere. [10]

Leadership

The Soros Economic Development Fund board of directors is made up of senior Open Society Foundations employees.

Sean Hinton

Sean Hinton is the chief executive officer of SEDF. He also serves as co-director of the EJP. Before he became involved with OSF, he spent more than 25 years working for firms specializing in China and Mongolia, including Goldman Sachs (Asia), SouthGobi Resources, and China Networks. In 2007, he founded the consulting firm Terbish Partners. [11] He became CEO of SEDF in 2015. [12]

In an interview, Hinton identified the economic advancement of refugees and migrants as one of his organization’s top priorities. [13]

Scott Abrams

Scott Abrams is the director for special initiatives for EJP. [14] He previously taught at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary. [15] CEU is funded by the Soros philanthropies and had a campus in Budapest until 2018, when the Hungarian government forced the university to leave as part of a broader effort to limit George Soros’s influence in the country. [16]

In a 2005 report, Abrams wrote that non-governmental organizations like OSF serve as an “alternative source of legitimacy” in central European nations like Poland and Hungary. [17]

Fawzia Naqvi

Fawzia Naqvi is the former vice president of SEDF. She maintains an active presence on Twitter, where she has called pro-life activists a “cabal,” Trump administration U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr a “poisonous toad,” and Trump White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany a “fascist.” [18]

Maria Santos Valentin

Maria Santos Valentin worked with OSF since its creation in 1998 and rose to the position of secretary and general counsel of SEDF. In 2019, she left OSF for the Rockefeller Foundation, a major left-of-center grantmaking group. [19]

Funding

In 2018, SEDF received all of its funds from the Foundation to Promote Open Society, one of George Soros’s largest private foundations. The Fund received $60.5 million from the Foundation. That year, SEDF started with just over $142 million in net assets and ended the year with more than $187 million. [20]

References

  1.        “Economic Justice Program,” Open Society Foundations. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/programs/economic-justice-program ^
  2.      “Economic Justice Program,” Open Society Foundations. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/programs/economic-justice-program ^
  3. Brooke Singman, “Obama State Dept used taxpayer dollars to fund George Soros group’s political activities in Albania, watchdog group says,” April 4, 2018. Fox News. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/obama-state-dept-used-taxpayer-dollars-to-fund-george-soros-groups-political-activities-in-albania-watchdog-group-says ^
  4.        “Soros Economic Development Fund backs Aspada with $10 mn,” Rediff, April 16, 2013. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.rediff.com/money/report/soros-economic-development-fund-backs-aspada-with-usd-10-mn/20130416.htm ^
  5.          Soros Economic Development Fund, “Soros Economic Development Fund Invest in Ghana to Bolster Food Security,” PR Newswire, March 25, 2014. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/soros-economic-development-fund-invests-in-ghana-to-bolster-food-security-252148111.html ^
  6.            “Soros Economic Development Fund Joins Ethiopia Investment Fund,” Open Society Foundations, October 15, 2019. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/newsroom/soros-economic-development-fund-joins-ethiopia-investment-fund ^
  7.        Paolo Bossi, “Soros Economic Development Fund’s Commitment To InsuResilience Investment Fund,” Global Legal Chronicle, June 18, 2020. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.globallegalchronicle.com/soros-economic-development-funds-commitment-to-insuresilience-investment-fund/ ^
  8.            “Key Partnerships,” Select Financial Services. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.selectafrica.net/key-partnerships/ ^
  9.          “Judicial Watch Sues State Department and USAID for Records about Funding of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation – Albania,” Judicial Watch, May 31, 2017. Accessed September 25, 2020.

    Judicial Watch Sues State Department and USAID for Records about Funding of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation – Albania

    ^

  10. Brooke Singman, “Obama State Dept used taxpayer dollars to fund George Soros group’s political activities in Albania, watchdog group says,” April 4, 2018. Fox News. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/obama-state-dept-used-taxpayer-dollars-to-fund-george-soros-groups-political-activities-in-albania-watchdog-group-says ^
  11.          “Sean Hinton,” Open Society Foundations. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/staff/sean-hinton ^
  12. “Sean Hinton,” Bloomberg. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.bloomberg.com/profile/person/17747779 ^
  13.        “Interview with Sean Hinton, Director of the Open Society Economic Advancement Program and CEO of the Soros Economic Development Fund,” EVPA. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://evpa.eu.com/pages/interview-with-sean-hinton-director-of-the-open-society-economic-advancement-program-andceo-of-the-soros-economic-development-fund ^
  14.    “Scott Abrams,” Open Society Foundations. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/staff/scott-abrams?filter_program=30 ^
  15.        “Scott Abrams,” Central European University. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://summeruniversity.ceu.edu/node/32 ^
  16.            Susan Adams, “Why Hungary Forced George Soros-Backed Central European University To Leave The Country,” Forbes, December 4, 2018. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2018/12/04/why-hungary-forced-george-soros-backed-central-european-university-to-leave-the-country/#622d5bec533e ^
  17.         Katalin E. Koncz, “NGO Sustainability in Eastern Europe: Helping Civil Society Survive,” Open Society Institute – Budapest, 2005. Accessed September 25, 2020. http://pdc.ceu.hu/archive/00002868/01/NGO_Sustainability_in_Central_Europe.pdf ^
  18.        Fawzia Naqvi, Twitter. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://twitter.com/fawzianaqvi1 ^
  19.        “The Rockefeller Foundation Names Maria Santos Valentin as New General Counsel,” The Rockefeller Foundation, March 18, 2019. Accessed September 25, 2020.

    The Rockefeller Foundation Names Maria Santos Valentin as New General Counsel

    ^

  20.       Return of Private Foundation – Soros Economic Development Fund, Internal Revenue Service, 2018. Accessed September 25, 2020. http://apps.irs.gov/pub/epostcard/cor/133965896_201812_990PF_2019121716964192.pdf ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. George Soros
    Primary Funder
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 1994

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2015 Dec Form PF $63,674,610 $7,094,079 $120,687,001 $2,353,010 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $34,736,586 $295,210,634 $67,397,878 $5,271,478 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $602,255 $8,703,199 $368,281,818 $18,270,695 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $16,657,676 $6,907,324 $233,986,912 $11,234,529 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $-2,679,823 $4,629,614 $216,278,898 $9,379,714 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF)

    224 W 57TH ST 9TH FL
    NEW YORK, NY 10019-3212