Black Lives Matter hitting hard times
Black Lives Matter is spending money at double the rate it takes in revenue as donations to the activist group plummet and management costs rise, causing its asset base to shrink.
Donations to BLM’s Global Network Foundation tumbled to less than $9.3 million in its latest fiscal year, ended on June 30, down a staggering 88% from the preceding 12 months, according to state tax filings. Revenue was even lower, at $8.5 million, amid investment losses. The group’s spending totaled over $17 million, or twice as much as it took in.
The documents were first obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, showing that the financial bonanza that BLM reaped during its 2020 protests against police brutality is now dwindling. Net assets dropped 28% in the latest fiscal year, declining to $30.2 million.
Part of the problem is that even as the foundation throttles back its activities – expenses for “program services” plunged 65% from a year earlier, to $11.5 million – it’s spending even more on management. Those costs rose 36% last year to $5.1 million.
The group’s leaders have also been accused of siphoning off donations for their personal gain. A sister organization, Black Lives Matter Grassroots, claimed in a lawsuit that foundation leader Shalomyah Bowers diverted $10 million for his own use. His predecessor, co-founder Patrisse Cullors, resigned in May 2021 after being accused of living a lavish lifestyle on BLM’s wealth. She reportedly purchased four homes for a combined $3.2 million while heading the group.
The Cullors family continues to benefit financially from BLM. The documents showed that her brother, graffiti artist Paul Cullors, received $140,000 in compensation last year in his role as “head of security.” In addition, his security firm was paid more than $750,000. Filings for the previous fiscal year showed that the foundation paid a company owned by Damon Turner, father of Patrisse Cullors’ child, nearly $970,000 for “live production, design and media” services.
An auditors’ review of the group’s finances reportedly found that Bowers’ company had been paid nearly $1.7 million over the preceding two years for “management and consulting services.”
Cicley Gay was brought in as the BLM foundation’s chairwoman in April 2022, at least partly to help sort out the group’s finances. She reportedly had difficulties managing her own finances, filing for bankruptcy protection from creditors three times between 2005 and 2016.
Cullors and two other activists launched the BLM movement in 2013, following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who killed black teenager Trayvon Martin during a February 2012 scuffle while serving as a neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Florida.
BLM raked in donations from Microsoft, Amazon and other corporations in the summer of 2020, after the killing of black Minneapolis resident George Floyd by police sparked a wave of protests around the country and overseas. Cullors referred to the huge cash influx as “white guilt money.” Many of the demonstrations escalated into riots, leaving many Americans injured and dead and causing billions of dollars in property damage.