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Who Is Cicley Gay? New BLM Board Chair Leans Into Accountability Questions And Future Of BLM

Who Is Cicley Gay? New BLM Board Chair Leans Into Accountability Questions And Future Of BLM

Cicley Gay

Photo: Cicley Gay, the chairwoman of Black Lives Matter, is pictured May 13, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Amid the controversy over the use of millions of dollars in donations, Black Lives Matter quietly changed its leadership staff. Philanthropic strategist Cicley Gay has stepped in as the activist organization’s new chairwoman.

Black Lives Matter co-founder and former executive director Patrisse Cullors stepped down in May 2021 as questions arose over her using $6 million of BLM donations to purchase a luxury California mansion.

Gay came on board in April 2022 and has already leaned in to questions about BLM finances.

The organization took in $90 million of donations in 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s murder while in the custody of Minneapolis police. It was recently reported that Cullors used the BLM mansion for two private and personal parties. While she and BLM insisted she pay a rental fee for the use of the property, the revelation shone a negative light on the organization.

A recent tax filing from BLM shows that the foundation currently has $42 million in assets.

“No one expected the foundation to grow at this pace and to this scale,” said Gay, chairwoman of the board of directors, in a statement to The New York Times. “Now, we are taking time to build efficient infrastructure to run the largest Black, abolitionist, philanthropic organization to ever exist in the United States.”


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Gay is one of three new board members, along with D’Zhane Parker and Shalomyah Bowers.

Gay has more than 20 years of nonprofit and philanthropic experience with the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group (NPAG) and is the founding director of Students Take Action for New Directions, which educates students on the impact of federal budget priorities on local communities, according to the BLM website.

NPAG specializes in top-tier social sector talent strategy and executive search.

Gay said on the BLM website, “I’ve spent decades intentionally preparing my sons for the world. I am now committed to preparing the world for my three Black sons.”

In a blog post for Medium, Gay spoke of her search for her culture and ancestors.

“After years of research, I uncovered that I am 80% Nigerian + Cameroon, Congo, and Western Bantu, and 20% European. My ancestors arrived and were enslaved in coastal Virginia, North and South Carolina.,” she wrote.

Gay is a two-time participant in AmeriCorps, a civil service effort of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

She is also the founder and CEO of the social enterprise, The Amplifiers, leading communications strategies for philanthropists and nonprofits committed to social justice.

Gay spent nearly a decade at the Women’s Sports Foundation, a nonprofit charity focused on female involvement in sport, as the founding director of GoGirlGo!. Llater she served as its national director of education and alliances. She earned degrees in political science and communications and received the Catalyst Award from the Global Center for Social Change through Women’s Leadership.

Photo: Cicley Gay, the chairwoman of Black Lives Matter, is pictured May 13, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)