Recognizing Profound and Urgent Threats to Democracy, the Open Society Institute Charts New Direction for Its Work in the United

NEW YORK , June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Building on a ten year commitment of more than $800 million to advance democracy and progressive reform in the United States , the Open Society Institute today launched groundbreaking new initiatives( /about/orgchart_20080611.pdf)(Due to length of URL, please copy and paste link into browser). Under the leadership of Ann Beeson (, a widely respected human rights advocate and Supreme Court litigator, U.S. Programs will devote $75 million annually to promote equality, ensure transparency in government, and reform criminal justice and national security policies.

"Too many Americans are straitjacketed from full participation in our democracy," said Beeson, director of U.S. Programs. "With these new initiatives, OSI will build the collective power of individuals and organizations to develop and demand solutions to advance open society in the United States ."

U.S. Programs charted this path after identifying new challenges in the changing social and political climate. Beeson has assembled a dynamic team of experts and activists to lead the new programs.

In addition, U.S. Programs is seeking a director to head the Transparency and Integrity Fund which aims to restore credibility to key government agencies, revitalize congressional oversight, and increase the military's accountability.

U.S. Programs is also launching special initiatives that will provide expanded resources on two urgent issues. Shawn Dove ( will lead efforts to confront the stigmatization, criminalization, and exclusion of African American men and boys from the economic and political mainstream. Nancy Chang ( will oversee work to challenge U.S. national security policies on torture, surveillance, arbitrary detention, and racial profiling.

"In shaping these programs, we have tried to capture the sense of urgency and optimism that our grantees bring to today's formidable challenges," said Beeson. "U.S. Programs will use its resources to ensure that democracy can flourish and that everyone in this country can participate fully and equally in society."

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The Open Society Institute, a private operating and grantmaking foundation, works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve its mission, OSI seeks to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. OSI works in over 60 countries in Europe , Asia , Africa , Latin America , and the Middle East , as well as in the United States .

SOURCE Open Society Institute