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16 Jun, 2020 12:00

‘Where’s the rest?’ Calls for transparency as Minnesota Freedom Fund raises MILLIONS, but spends only $200k to bail out protesters

‘Where’s the rest?’ Calls for transparency as Minnesota Freedom Fund raises MILLIONS, but spends only $200k to bail out protesters

A Minnesota bailout fund that raised millions as protests gripped Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd revealed it has spent only $200,000 to bail out protesters – and social media wants to see the receipts for the rest.

The Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF) managed to raise $20 million in four days in May. The fund’s website currently says that “more than $30 million” has been raised in total since Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis cop.

On Tuesday, the non-profit tweeted that it had paid out “well over $200k in the weeks since the uprising alone,” and assured followers that it’s “working on doing more.” In a previous tweet, the MFF said it appreciates “all those calling for transparency” and that its “values and mission have not changed since 2016.”

Yet, the relatively small sum spent in comparison to the amount raised caused a major stir on Twitter, with people demanding to know when and how the rest will be spent.

“Where is the other $34,800,000?” one Twitter user demanded to know.

One person said the lack of transparency made her “absolutely sick,” given that the “majority” of donors were “probably broke college students” and minorities, while others called for the money to be returned to donors so they could “support other causes” if they wanted to.

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Some also noted that other organizations had been more transparent, with the Portland Protest Bail Fund, for instance, sending donors daily breakdowns of where their raised funds were going.

Many also pointed to the fact that the non-profit’s staff was made up of five white men and one white woman, but no people of color. To make matters worse, when social-media users began to point that out, the Meet Our Team page was removed from the website.

There were some willing to be more patient with the MFF, however. One Twitter user pleaded for people to understand “how hard it is to efficiently spend, manage, and account for that kind of money when you’re clearly not set up to work on that scale.”

An FAQ page on the organization’s website makes the same point, noting that, only weeks ago, it was a small fund that paid out no more than $1,000 in the course of a normal day. Now, it says, it’s “adapting quickly to handle the volume and scale of the current need,” and has temporarily stopped accepting donations.

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