Donations to Black Lives Matter plummeted by EIGHTY-EIGHT percent in a year, from $77M to just $9.3M
Donations to the national organization for Black Lives Matter saw a shocking drop-off of nearly 90 percent from 2021 to 2022, as the group’s use of funds continued to cause controversy.
The fundraising arm of the organization, BLM Global Network, reported contributions of just $9.3million for the fiscal year ending in June of 2022 in state filings.
That’s down a stunning 88 percent from the $77 million the nonprofit reported in donations for the fiscal year ending 12 months earlier, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
BLM Global Network has handled its own fundraising since splitting from its management group Thousand Currents in mid-2020. It did so after being inundated with donations following the June 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Since then, however, the group has often faced backlash for what some have seen as a misuse of funds on various lavish purchases and ‘consulting’ fees – although it is unclear what caused BLM’s donations to the crater.
In May 2022, it was revealed Black Lives Matter spent more than $12 million on luxury properties in Los Angeles (pictured) and in Toronto – including a $6.3 million 10,000-square-foot property in Canada that was purchased as part of an $8M ‘ out of country grant
Donations to the national organization for Black Lives Matter saw a shocking drop-off of nearly 90 percent from 2021 to 2022, as the group’s use of funds continued to cause controversy
Leaders have attempted to justify vast sums spent on security by saying the foundation’s protection could not be entrusted to former police professionals.
They typically run security firms – with BLM famous for its opposition to vehemently protesting law enforcement organizations.
A consulting firm run by Shalomyah Bowers, who is BLM’s board secretary and has previously served as deputy executive director, was paid more than $2.1 million for providing the organization with operational support, including staffing, fundraising and other key services.
In May 2022, it was revealed Black Lives Matter spent more than $12 million on luxury properties in Los Angeles and in Toronto – including a $6.3 million 10,000-square-foot property in Canada that was purchased as part of an $8M ‘out of country grants.
The Toronto property was bought with grant money that was meant for ‘activities to educate and support black communities, and to purchase and renovate property for charitable use.’
The group had said it was planning to use the property as main headquarters in Canada, and it has now been named the Wilseed Center for Arts and Activism. In January, it was revealed that BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors transferred millions from the organization to a charity run by his wife, Janaya Khan, to purchase the property.
Cullors, who resigned in May 2021 after it was revealed she amassed a $3.2 million property portfolio, has used the property twice for personal reasons – once for a Biden inauguration party, and another time for her son’s birthday. She paid $390 for its use, according to tax filings.
Tax filings released last year revealed that BLM paid a company owned by Damon Turner, the father of Cullors’ child, nearly $970,000 to help ‘produce live events’ and provide other ‘creative services.’
The co-founder’s brother, Paul Cullors, received more than $840,000 for providing security services to the foundation.
There is no suggestion of financial impropriety on the part of Black Lives Matter, but the way in which its bosses have spent money has generated continued controversy.
In January, it was revealed that BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors transferred millions from the organization to a charity run by his wife, Janaya Khan, to purchase the property.
D’Zhane Parker, left, Cicley Gay, center, and Shalomyah Bowers pose for a portrait in May 2022. A consulting firm run by Shalomyah Bowers, who is BLM’s board secretary and has previously served as deputy executive director, was paid more than $2.1 millions
Leaders have attempted to justify the expense by saying the foundation’s protection could not be entrusted to former police professionals who typically run security firms because the BLM movement is known for vehemently protesting law enforcement organizations.
Last year, when Cullors revealed the windfall of donations last year, local chapter organizers and families of police brutality victims reacted angrily.
Until then, the foundation had not been transparent with the most devoted BLM organizers, many of whom accused Cullors of shutting them out of decisions about how financial resources would be allocated.
YahNé Ndgo, an activist and former organizer with the BLM chapter in Philadelphia, said Cullors reneged on a promise to hand over control of the foundation’s resources to grassroots organizers.
‘When resources came in, when opportunities came in, (the foundation) alone would be the ones to decide who was going to take advantage of them, without having to take any consideration of the other organizers whose work was giving them the access to these resources and opportunities in the first place,’ said Ndgo, who organized a group of chapters that confronted the foundation over issues of transparency and accountability.
In 2020, the foundation did spin off its network of chapters as a sister collective called BLM Grassroots. It has a fiscal sponsor managing money granted by the foundation.
Melina Abdullah, cofounder of BLM’s first chapter in Los Angeles, also directs the grassroots collective and said its organizers continue to have direct impact in communities across the country.
‘We’ll never stop doing that,’ Abdullah said. ‘That’s the job we were born out of.’
Garza (center) and Tometi (left) are no longer affiliated with BLM. Cullors (right) was its figurehead and leader throughout the George Floyd protests in 2020 – which saw huge donations flood in
In a recent interview with the AP, Cullors acknowledged the foundation was ill-prepared to handle the moment. The tax filing lists Cullors as an uncompensated founder and executive director. She resigned last year. The foundation also paid nearly $140,000 in severance to a former managing director who had been at odds with local BLM chapter organizers, prior to Cullors’ tenure as director.
The filing shows Cullors reimbursed the organization $73,523 for a charter flight for foundation-related travel, which the organization says she took in 2021 out of concern for COVID-19 and security threats. She also paid the foundation $390 over its use of the Studio City property for two private events.
During the last fiscal year, Cullors was the foundation board’s sole voting director and held no board meetings, according to the filing. Although that is permissible under Delaware law, where the foundation is incorporated, that governance structure gives the appearance that Cullors alone decided who to hire and how to spend donations. That was never the truth, current board members said.
For all the questions raised about its oversight, the BLM foundation´s tax filing shows its stewards have channeled funds to organizations tasked with addressing racism. It granted tens of millions of dollars to BLM chapters, black-led grassroots organizations and families of police brutality victims, whose names rallied the larger movement.
BLM co-founders – Cullors, Alicia Garza and Ay Tometi – had pledged to build a decentralized organization governed by the consensus of BLM chapters. But just three years into existence, Cullors was the only movement founder involved in the organization.