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Soros pledges $50 million to help fight N.Y. poverty

The annual spring gala of the Robin Hood Foundation was a bit less lustrous than it has been in recent years — and it brought in 21 percent less this year than it did in 2008.

But George Soros made a big splash by pledging a $50 million challenge grant to help fight poverty in New York, report the Times’ Stephanie Strom and Graham Bowley in this colorful feature about Tuesday’s event.

Mr. Soros, who had flown in from Sweden hours earlier, pledged $50 million to address the rapid increase in people in New York City seeking basic support like food and shelter if Robin Hood and its board members raised almost the same amount in each of the next two years.

That is one of the largest gifts ever made to satisfy basic needs, according to fund-raising experts, and Mr. Soros said he hoped it would inspire other philanthropists and philanthropic institutions to make similar contributions.

“Just as needs have increased so tremendously, the philanthropic organizations have been also victims of the crisis, and they have to cut back,” he said in a telephone interview. “We want to reverse that with this gift.”

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