After raising $90 million in 2020, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation currently has $42 million in assets, according to New York Times.
Cicley Gay, chair of the board of directors and one of the newest board members released a statement about the organization's financial standing.
“No one expected the foundation to grow at this pace and to this scale,” Gay’s statement read. “Now, we are taking time to build efficient infrastructure to run the largest Black, abolitionist, philanthropic organization to ever exist in the United States.”
Shalomyah Bowers, another new member of the board, explained that the documents are a snapshot of the organization attempting to retool for the future.
“As a new board, we are building policies that didn’t exist, operational and administrative infrastructure that didn’t exist,” Bowers said. “We’re making it clear to Black people that we’re an institution and that we’re here to stay. In order to do that, we need to demonstrate that our financial house is in order.”
Per the report, Patrisse Cullors, one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter, was the only voting board member during the fiscal year covered by the tax documents. While this kind of organizational structure is legal in Delaware, where the group is incorporated, charity experts say for a group that has accrued tens of millions of dollars, it is not the best practice.
“Imagine you have the equivalent of a cruise ship with no one at the helm, you have a massive organization, massive amounts of money, no structure, no accountability, no staff,” said Ashley Yates, a St. Louis-born activist who was formally involved with the organization. “Who even makes the decision on who writes the checks?”
As EBONY previously reported, Cullors admitted to using the BLM mansion for personal use.
“We really wanted to make sure that the global network foundation had an asset that wasn’t just financial resources,” Cullors said. “We understood that not many Black-led organizations have property. They don’t own their property.”
The tax form indicated that Cullors received no compensation during the fiscal year but instead “served as an unpaid volunteer.” Paul Cullors, a family member, was listed on the tax form as receiving payment for “professional security services” amounting to $840,993.
Last year, Cullors resigned as director of the foundation to focus on personal projects. She has denied being involved with any alleged improprieties.
The foundation’s financial dealings have garnered criticism from supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement and from their opposition. Many have called on BLM to have more transparency and “a greater role in making decisions, as well as more money for the organizations led by activists on the ground.”
The release of the documents marks the first time the organization offered an official accounting of its financial records.
The form details the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021.