New Black Lives Matter tax documents show the foundation is tightening its belt and has $30 million in assets

NEW YORK (AP) — A national Black Lives Matter nonprofit, whose philanthropic fortune grew almost overnight during historic racial justice protests three years ago, has raised just over $9 million. million in its last fiscal year, according to new tax filings with the IRS.

That’s significantly less than the $79 million in revenue reported in a previous tax return from Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation Inc. On Friday, the foundation said it expected that to be the case, counting. given the unique factors surrounding the public response to the murder of George Floyd in 2020.

A 60-page filing, submitted by the organization earlier this month, shows the foundation spent more money than it earned in its last fiscal year, from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. She ended the year with around $30 million in assets. , down from the $42 million in assets reported in its filing a year earlier.

Nonprofit BLM had raised more than $90 million in its first year as a tax-exempt organization, coinciding with the wave of protests against police brutality in the summer of 2020. But with With the racial justice fundraising environment rapidly returning to normal, new tax returns show the organization has cut operating expenses by nearly 55%.

Cicley Gay, chairman of the foundation’s board, said the tightening of the belt was part of an effort to demonstrate that its stewards “have been responsible and proactive decision makers of the people’s donations”.

“We are building an institution to fight white supremacy and achieve black liberation,” Gay said in a statement on the tax returns. “Every dollar we spend is aimed at achieving this goal.”

The foundation said it would publish the new financial documents in a “transparency hub” on its official website.

Last year, the nonprofit awarded more than $4 million in grants to grassroots Black-led organizations, including organizations founded by the families of victims of police brutality, whose names rally the movement at large. Nearly $26 million had gone to black organizations and families in the foundation’s 2020-2021 fiscal year.

Tax documents also show the foundation continued its business relationship with security contractor Paul Cullors, the brother of BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who resigned as director of the foundation in 2021. Although Patrisse has not been involved in the day-to-day running of the organization for two and a half years, she and, by extension, the organization continue to face accusations of misuse of BLM donations by critics of the movement and in right-wing media. The allegations are unproven.

Shalomyah Bowers, another member of the foundation’s board, said an independent auditor hired by the foundation found the nonprofit to be in good financial shape. The auditor found “that our financial outlook is sound, that there is no fraud or abuse within the organization,” said Bowers, whose outside firm received the lion’s share of the BLM foundation spending on consultants in fiscal year 2020-21.

Last summer, a group of local chapters and activists known as the BLM Grassroots filed a lawsuit in California superior court against Bowers and the foundation. The lawsuit alleges that he and his consulting firm broke an agreement to cede control of BLM’s digital presence and finances to grassroots BLM organizers.

Bowers called the allegations “frivolous” and false.

Both sides are awaiting a judge’s decision on the BLM Grassroots lawsuit, on which arguments were heard in early spring.


Aaron Morrison is a New York-based national writer who is part of the AP’s Race and Ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter:


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