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AP Exclusive. These lives are about finances

NEW YORK (AP) – The foundation, widely regarded as the fundraiser of the Black Lives Matter movement, says it raised more than $ 90 million last year, according to a financial statement released solely by the Associated Press.

The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is now building the infrastructure to speed up its funding, and plans to use its endowment to raise more complaints after black Americans are killed by police or vigilantes.

“We want to increase the joy and liberation of the SS, not just the death. “We want to see the SP communities thrive, not just survive,” said the Impact Report, which the foundation shared with the AP before publishing it.

This is the first time in the movement’s nearly eight-year history that BLM leaders have revealed the details of their finances. The fund’s treasury and influence grew exponentially after the death of St. George Floyd Floyd in May 2020, a black man whose last breath under the knees of a white Minneapolis police officer sparked protests in the United States and around the world.

This growth also caused long-lasting tension among some of the movement’s main organizers, the “national leaders.” The first was published last fall with complaints about financial transparency, decision-making and accountability.

The foundation said it provided $ 21.7 million in grants to official and unofficial BLM chapters, as well as to 30 local SA-led organizations. It ended 2020 with a balance of more than $ 60 million, spending almost a quarter of its assets on grant funds and other charitable causes.

In its report, the BLM Foundation states that individual donations through its core fundraising platform average $ 30.76. More than 10% of donations were repeated. The statement did not say who donated the money in 2020, but officials declined to name prominent donors.

Last year, the fund spent about $ 8.4 million. This includes staffing, operational and administrative costs, as well as actions such as civic engagement, rapid response, and crisis response.

One of its main goals for 2021 will be economic justice, in particular as it addresses the ongoing socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on SP communities.

Last year, the racial justice movement had a major impact on charitable activities. According to a forthcoming report by Candid և Disaster Charity Center, 35% of the $ 20.2 billion in US $ 20.2 billion in funding from corporations, foundations, charities, and individuals to apply for COVID-19 was clearly intended. for colored communities. ,

After vindicating George Worm Zim Imerman, a district observer who killed 17-year-old Treyvon Martin in Florida in 2013, the BLM founders promised to build a decentralized movement led by a consensus of members. A network of chapters was created in 2015 as support and donations flowed. But critics say the BLM Global Network Foundation has moved further and further away from being a radical organizational hub of the SS, becoming a major charitable political organization that operates without its democratic input. the earliest major supporters.

BLM co-founder Patrice Cullors told the AP that the foundation was focused on “the need for resettlement in SS communities.”

“One of our biggest goals this year is the dollars we were able to raise in 2020, to build the institution we have been trying to build for the last seven and a half years,” he said in an interview.

Cullors, already active in his hometown of Los Angeles, where he founded his social justice organization Power and Dignity Now, became the full-time executive director of the Global Fund last year.

Partner co-founders Alicia Garza, director of the Black Futures Lab, and Opal Tometi, founder of the Black New Media and Adociation Hub, called the Diaspora Ising Ag, are not members of the foundation. Garza և Tometi continue to be co-founders of the movement.

In 2020, the foundation emerged from its head network as a sister team called BLM Grassroots. The chapters, along with other CSO-led organizations, were eligible for funding in July through a $ 12 million grant fund. Although there are many groups that use “Black Lives Matter” or “BLM” in their names, there are currently less than a dozen subsidiaries of the head network.

According to notes shared by the foundation with the AP, several chapters were announced last year, including in Washington, DC, Philadelphia and Chicago, to be eligible for $ 500,000 each under a multi-year contract. Only one BLM group in Denver signed the deal and received its funding in September.


The heads are calling for more transparency

A group of 10 chapters called # BLM10 last year turned down a fundraising offer and publicly complained about donor transparency. Fund executives say only a few of the 10 chapters are recognized as subsidiaries of the network.

In a letter published on November 30, # BLM10 claims that many chapters have received BLM funding almost without any funding since its launch in 2013. This had an adverse effect on the scope of their organizational work,

Chapters are simply asking for an equal say “in this to which our names are attached, that they do in our names,” said April Goggans of Black Lives Matter DC, part of # BLM10, with Indianapolis groups together. , Oklahoma City, San Diego, Hudson Valley, New York և elsewhere.

“We are BLM. “We built this, each of us,” he said.

Records show that some chapters received multiple rounds of funding, ranging from $ 800 to $ 69,000 by 2016. # BLM10 says the money given is not fair compared to what BLM has collected over the years. But the Cullers did not agree.

“Because the BLM movement was bigger than life, և it’s bigger than life, people made a lot of huge assumptions about what our real finances are like,” Kullors said. “We often scratched money. This was the first year we got the resources we deserved.”

The members of # BLM10 still said that the reality did not correspond to the image that the founders of the movement projected all over the world. In its early years, BLM revealed that it was receiving donations from A-list celebrities such as Beyoncé,’s AZ and, Prince, until his death in 2016.

The leaders of the BLM Foundation admit that they have not been clear about the movement’s financial management over the years. But now the foundation is more open on such issues. It says the tax sponsor, which currently manages its money, requires that the costs be approved by a collective action fund made up of a board composed of representatives of the official BLM chapters.

After Floyd’s assassination in Minneapolis, a wave of donations saw the foundation move from a small, fragmented movement to a mature institution. Last summer, executives sought nonprofit status with the IRS, which was granted in December, allowing the organization to receive direct tax deductions. In the near future, it will also require the foundation to submit 990 public worksheets, revealing details of its organizational structure, employee compensation, programming, and costs.

Brad Smith, president of Candid, a charity information organization, said that in addition to federal ways of identifying businesses, there are other ways for businesses to be transparent to the public. He said the charity’s website is his best tool to show how ready he is to be held accountable.

“In exchange for tax-exempt status, you, as an organization, are committed to ensuring a higher level of transparency to ensure that you fulfill your mission,” he said.

That is, with the vision of the Cullors, Garza և Tometi, and the work of so many SS organizers in the ecosystem, the BLM movement is entering a new phase of development, said Melina Abdullah, BLM Los Angeles’ first branch.

“We are turning the corner, realizing that we need to build institutions that will stand beyond us,” Abdullah told the AP.


Morrison is a member of the AP Race and Ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/aaronlmorrison.


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