Facing growing criticism about a lack of transparency about its finances, the Black Lives Matter (BM) has opened up its books.
The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, started in 2013 by community activists Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi, took in just over $90 million in 2020, according to a financial snapshot shared exclusively with the Associated Press.
The increased donations were due to growing awareness about the group following the global BLM protests sparked by the May 25, 2020 police killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Garza and Tometi have since split from the group.
The foundation said it is in the process of creating an infrastructure to handle the increase in donations. It said it will use its endowment to expand its scope.
“We want to uplift Black joy and liberation, not just Black death,” the foundation said in an impact report shared with AP. “We want to see Black communities thriving, not just surviving.”
This is the first time in the group’s nearly eight-year history that it has publicly released a detailed look at its finances.
On Twitter, one user praised the group: “I believe they are doing the work. Meanwhile Trump never did release his taxes.”
Another tweeted, “Well, I donated like so many Americans. Let’s put that funding to good use. The NAACP is obsolete and entrenched. The future is BLM!”
There has much dispute over BLM finances. In 2020, a group of 10 chapters that identified as the #BLM10 rejected the foundation’s funding and complained publicly about the lack of donor transparency, The Los Angeles Times reported.
In a letter, the #BLM10 claimed most chapters have received little to no financial resources directly from BLM.
The chapters said they wanted an equal say in “this thing that our names are attached to, that they are doing in our names,” said Black Lives Matter DC organizer April Goggans, who is part of the #BLM10 along with groups in Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, San Diego, Hudson Valley, New York, and elsewhere.
“We are BLM. We built this, each one of us,” Goggans said.
In response to news of the BLM financial report, the DC chapter tweeted, “Please understand that it’s the chapters that do the work. Blood, sweat and tears, when folks donate to BLM Global Network, it doesn’t go to us. #BLM10”
The tweet was accompanied by a copy of the #BLM10 collective letter.
The BLM foundation, however, claimed in its financial report that it committed $21.7 million in grant funding to official and unofficial BLM chapters, as well as 30 Black-led local organizations.
It ended 2020 with a balance of more than $60 million, The Los Angeles Times reported. It spent nearly a quarter of its assets on grant funds and other charitable giving.
In its report, BLM said individual donations via its main fundraising platform averaged $30.76. More than10 percent of the donations were recurring, The L.A. The Times reported.
Many corporations are quick to support BLM.
Apple, Amazon, and Facebook endorsed the BLM movement – or at a minimum pledged millions of dollars to fight racism and vowed to do increase efforts to end discrimination in their workplaces, The Conversation reported.
Some observers say that companies jumped on board because the protesters were younger, whiter, and wealthier.
The age group with the largest share of protesters was people under 35 and the income group with the largest share of protesters was those earning more than $150,000,” The New York Times reported.
For companies, the BLM protester is a prime potential consumer. “A post-Floyd poll found that nearly 90 percent of members of Generation Z – those born from 1997 to 2005 – believe African Americans are treated differently and support Black Lives Matter. That compares with just 60 percent of respondents under 30 who said they supported the movement back in 2016. More than two-thirds of Generation Z and millennials think brands should be even more involved in Black Lives Matter,” The Conversation reported.
The spending power of millennials – born from 1981 to 1996 – is estimated at about $2.5 trillion a year, according to YPulse. Associating with a group millennials seemed to support was a smart business move for brands.
In 2020, BLM claims to have expenses of approximately $8.4 million that include staffing, operating, and administrative costs, as well as activities such as civic engagement, rapid response and crisis intervention.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.
In 2021 BLM said it plans to focus on economic justice, particularly as it concerns the continuing socioeconomic impact of the covid-19 pandemic on Black communities.
BLM co-founder Cullors told the AP that the foundation is focused on a “need to reinvest into Black communities.”
“One of our biggest goals this year is taking the dollars we were able to raise in 2020 and building out the institution we’ve been trying to build for the last seven-and-a-half years,” she said in an interview.
On Twitter, one person had a suggestion on what to do with the money.
“BLM should start their own party. Best way to get the serious atttention of Centrist Democrats who will never do more than it takes to mollify for the moment.”
“That would never happen,” another Twitter user responded. “Notice they don’t mention who they got the money from. Don’t count on these non profs to do a anything but be Democrats.”
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