Black Lives Matter (specifically the Black Lives Matter Global Network) has been scrutinized after its co-founder Patrisse Cullors was called out for its alleged misuse of the donations given to the foundation. Now, the IRS has dropped receipts in the form of tax forms, and it details where a good portion of the money went.
The Associated Press exclusively shared the 63-page Form 990 revealing Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation Inc. reports took in $90 million last year, investing $32 million in stocks during the breakout of racial justice protests in 2020. Organizers claim that money will be used to further support the movement and ensure the foundation continues its work.
BLM ended its fiscal year July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, with about $42 million in net assets, and according to one board member, BLM had an operating budget of $4 million. But what continues to stand out is how Cullors allegedly used some of those funds.
Reportedly, Cullors’ brother, Paul Cullors, received $840,000 for security services provided to the nonprofit, tax forms revealed. BLM also paid Damon Turner, the father of Cullors’ child, almost $970,000 to help produce “live events” and other “creative services.”
According to the tax filings, more than $37 million was spent on chartered flights, which Cullors did reimburse $73,523 to the foundation for grants and real estate. According to BLM, Cullors chartered the private flights out of concern about catching COVID-19 and the health risks that followed.
Cullors has since stepped down as executive director of the organization, following back-to-back controversies. One particular piece of real estate that has been the topic of discussion was a $6 million Southern California home. It features a swimming pool, soundstage, and offices described as “a campus for a Black artists fellowship,” and it is currently being used for the described purpose, according to one board member. Cullors also purchased four other homes, the New York Post exclusively reported.
Per the NY Post:
Cullors at the time said she was weeks removed from being in “survival mode” after The Post’s exclusive reporting revealed her purchase of four high-end US homes for $3.2 million.
During that time, she said she hosted a Joe Biden inauguration party for about 15 people, including BLM chapter members and other key allies of the organization.
Cullors initially said the property was purchased by BLM to serve as a meeting venue and campus. She also issued a statement denying suggestions she had lived at the property — or taken advantage of it for personal gain.
Cullors said she also threw a private birthday party for her son at the property in March 2021 — and intended to pay a rental fee to BLM.
The recent tax filing shows she paid the foundation an additional $390 over her uses of the 6,500-square-foot Studio City property for two private events.
According to the tax records, Bowers was the foundation board’s sole voting director and regularly held no board meetings.
“This 990 reveals that (the BLM foundation) is the largest black abolitionist nonprofit organization that has ever existed in the nation’s history. What we’re doing has never been done before,” Shalomyah Bowers, who serves as the foundation’s board secretary, said in a statement shared by the NY Post.
“We needed to get dollars out to grassroots organizations doing the work of abolition, doing the work that would shift the moral tide of this world towards one that does not have or believe in police, prisons, jails or violence,” he further added.
BLM has launched a “transparency and accountability center” and vows to share all financial documents with the public in the wake of financial red flags.
“We are decolonizing philanthropy,” Bowers fellow board chair Cicely Gay said. “We, as a board, are charged with disrupting traditional standards of what grant-making in philanthropy looks like. It means investing in black communities, trusting them with their dollars.”
“Transparency and accountability is so important to us, but so is trust,” Gay added. “Presenting (donor) names after the fact, at this point, would likely be a betrayal of that trust.”
Photo: James Clark / Getty