* BLM’s Funding & Financial Malfeasance

In 2015, Black Lives Matter quietly established a legal partnership with a small San Francisco-based charity, the International Development Exchange (IDEX), which in November of that year began acting as a manager of BLM’s financial affairs. In this role, IDEX gained the ability to receive grants and tax-deductible donations on BLM’s behalf. In 2016, the BLM-IDEX relationship evolved into a contractual partnership that was scheduled to run through at least the middle of 2017. In lieu of paying an administrative fee for IDEX’s financial-management services, BLM agreed instead to make donations to IDEX’s partners in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Prior to the formation of this BLM-IDEX partnership, IDEX executive director Rajasvini Bhansali had known BLM co-founders Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors for about a decade through their work in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Black Lives Matter also goes by the name “Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.” Other names by which it sometimes identifies itself are: (a) “Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc.”; (b) “Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc.”; and (c) “Black Lives Matter Global Foundation, Inc.” The BLM entity was a fiscally sponsored project of Thousand Currents, a left-wing, California-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, from 2016-20. As Robert Stilson of the Capital Research Center explains: “What this means in practice is that the organization does not have its own IRS tax-exempt status but is operating as a ‘project’ of an organization that does. In the case of 501(c)(3) fiscally sponsored projects, this allows for tax-deductible donations.”

In 2020, Thousand Currents decided to discontinue its fiscal sponsorships in order to focus more heavily on its grantmaking activities. Thus, in July 2020 the Tides Center became BLM’s new fiscal sponsor.

In 2018 and 2019, respectively, Thousand Currents funneled $2,622,017 and $3,354,654 in donor-restricted assets to BLM.

Among the organizations that have specifically earmarked contributions to Thousand Currents for BLM are the NoVo Foundation ($1,525,000 from 2015 to 2018), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation ($900,000 from 2016 to 2019), and Borealis Philanthropy ($343,000 from 2016 to 2018).

Thousand Currents held former President Donald Trump in the deepest contempt. As the organization said in January 2018: “If we stand opposed to this president and administration, it is incumbent upon us to support and be in solidarity with struggles being led by oppressed communities fighting for transformation.

In June 2020, the Capital Research Center revealed that the board of Thousand Currents included Susan Rosenberg, a former Marxist terrorist with the notorious May 19 Communist Organization. National Review columnist and former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy in 2008 described the 1980s trial in which Rosenberg had been convicted of terrorist crimes: Rosenberg turned her New Jersey terrorism trial into a circus, posturing as a political prisoner. At her sentencing, she urged her supporters to continue their war against the United States. (‘When we were first captured we said, we’re caught, we’re not defeated, long live the armed struggle. We’d like to take this moment to rededicate ourselves to our revolutionary principles, to our commitment to continue to fight for the defeat of U.S. imperialism.’) She expressed remorse about only one thing: she hadn’t had the courage to shoot it out with the police who’d apprehended her.

By no means does Thousand Currents represent the only avenue by which donors can contribute money to BLM. For example, when visitors to the BLM website seek to contribute money to the movement via that website, they are transported to the web page of ActBlue Charities, an organization that facilitates donations to “democrats and progressives.” As of May 21, 2020, ActBlue had given $119 million to the presidential campaign of Joe Biden. The worldwide BLM protests that subsequently erupted in response to the May 25 police killing of a black criminal suspect named George Floyd in Minneapolis, sparked a new surge of donations to BLM via ActBlue. As The New York Times reported on June 14, 2020: “The [ActBlue] site’s four biggest days ever came consecutively this month as it processed more than $250 million to various progressive causes and candidates in two-plus weeks…. And on June 2, the collective action day that was known as Blackout Tuesday, ActBlue doubled what had been, before this month, its one-day record: raising $41 million in 24 hours.”

The fact that ActBlue is a major fundraiser that focuses so heavily on supporting the Democratic Party — coupled with the fact that BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors candidly stated in a 2020 interview that BLM’s goal “is to get [President] Trump out” of office — led to much speculation that donations to BLM may have ended up in the coffers of the Democratic National Committee and its political candidates. As bestselling author F. William Engdahl wrote on June 16, 2020: “Now major corporations such as Apple, Disney, Nike and hundreds others may be pouring untold and unaccounted millions into ActBlue under the name of Black Lives Matter, funds that in fact can go to fund the election of a Democrat President Biden. Perhaps this is the real reason the Biden campaign has been so confident of support from black voters…. The role of tax-exempt foundations tied to the fortunes of the greatest industrial and financial companies such as Rockefeller, Ford, Kellogg, Hewlett and Soros says that there is a far deeper and far more sinister agenda to current disturbances than spontaneous outrage would suggest.”

Another major contributor to BLM has been billionaire financier George Soros. Through his Open Society Foundations (OSF), Soros in 2014 gave at least $33 million to support already-established groups that, as The Washington Times put it, “emboldened the grass-roots, on-the-ground activists in Ferguson,” Missouri, where anti-police protests erupted in the aftermath of an incident where a white police officer killed Michael Brown, a black teenaged criminal who was attempting to steal the officer’s gun. “The financial tether from Mr. Soros to the activist groups gave rise to a combustible protest movement that transformed a one-day criminal event in Missouri into a 24-hour-a-day national cause celebre,” said the Times. The recipients of this $33 million were mostly supporters of BLM, though the money was used for many different purposes, and not just to advance the BLM agenda. In 2015, Soros’s OSF gave $650,000 to “groups at the core of the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter movement.”

In 2015, the Google corporation pledged to give the Ella Baker Center (EBC) a grant of $500,000 which was to be used to fund the efforts of BLM co-founder (and EBC fellow) Patrisse Cullors, to create — in conjunction with the ACLU — a police brutality app that would enable people to report instances of police misconduct via their cellular phones. Noting that “the real cost for a simple app like this should be under $5,000,” Ed Straker wrote in the American Thinker: “Why is Cullors getting $495,000 more than the cost needed to design a useless app? Well, here is another statistic: Google is only 2% black. It looks as though Google is giving hush money to black radicals so they won’t attack Google’s ‘racist’ employment statistics, much as companies used to give hush money to Jesse Jackson for much the same reason.”

In the summer of 2016, the Ford Foundation and Borealis Philanthropy announced the formation of the Black-Led Movement Fund (BLMF), a six-year pooled donor campaign whose goal was to raise $100 million for the Movement for Black Lives coalition, which is a partner of BLM. BLMF identified itself as the creation of a number of large philanthropic foundations including not only Ford and Borealis, but also the Kellogg Foundation and George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. Said the Ford Foundation: “The Movement for Black Lives has forged a new national conversation about the intractable legacy of racism, state violence, and state neglect of black communities in the United States.” According to Borealis, “The BLMF provides grants, movement building resources, and technical assistance to organizations working to advance the leadership and vision of young, Black, queer, feminists and immigrant leaders who are shaping and leading a national conversation about criminalization, policing and race in America.” In a joint statement, Ford and Borealis said that their Fund would “complement the important work” of such entities as the Hill-Snowden Foundation, Solidaire, the NoVo Foundation, the Association of Black Foundation Executives, the Neighborhood Funders Group, anonymous donors, and others. In addition to raising $100 million for the Movement for Black Lives, the BLMF planned to collaborate with Benedict Consulting on “the organizational capacity building needs of a rapidly growing movement.”

On July 13, 2020, the Open Societies Foundations, in support of BLM and its allies, pledged to donate $220 million to programs designed to help “build power in Black communities, promote bold new anti-racist policies in U.S. cities, and help first-time activists stay engaged.” The pledge earmarked $150 million in five-year grants for black-led “racial justice” organizations, and $70 million for a range of initiatives such as helping city governments reform policing and criminal justice by “moving beyond the culture of criminalization and incarceration.” “This is the time for urgent and bold action to address racial injustice in America,” said OSF deputy chair Alex Soros, George Soros’s son. “These investments will empower proven leaders in the Black community to reimagine policing, end mass incarceration, and eliminate the barriers to opportunity that have been the source of inequity for too long.” Tom Perriello, executive director of Open Society-U.S., said: “The success of this movement, the largest in U.S. history, will be measured over years, not weeks, and we cannot say that Black lives matter and not make a multi-year commitment to a strategy set by and centering Black leaders and organizations who changed America’s sense of what is possible.”

On August 11, 2020, the Chronicle of Philanthropy wrote that “commitments from foundations to combat systemic racism have topped $1 billion” since protests against systemic racism had begun in late May. “Some are spending money for the first time on efforts to eradicate anti-Black racism,” the Chronicle added.

BLM has received significant funding from Shining the Light Advisors (SLA), a partnership created jointly by United Way, A&E, and iHeartMedia. SLA is a committee of “nationally known experts and leaders in racial and social justice” that oversees grant disbursements. The “advisors” who are part of SLA include Van JonesAdvancement Project co-director Judith Browne Dianis, and Rinku Sen, former president of the Applied Research Center (later renamed Race Forward).

Corporations that contributed significant sums of money to BLM in 2020 included the following:

  • 23 and Me (DNA testing and analysis)
  • Airbnb (lodging rentals)
  • Amazon (online retail giant)
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills (fashion company)
  • Apple
  • Aritizia (women’s fashion brand)
  • Asai (women’s clothing and accessories)
  • Bad Robot Productions (film studio involved in Star Trek, Star Wars, and Mission Impossible)
  • Bank of America
  • Billie (razor company)
  • Biossance Beauty Company (skin care products)
  • Boy Smells (scented products)
  • BTS (a Korean pop music group)
  • Bungie (video game developer)
  • Chips Ahoy
  • Cisco (electronics giant)
  • Deciem (cosmetics)
  • Deckers Beands (footwear)
  • Degree
  • Democracy Alliance
  • Devolver Digital (video game publisher)
  • Disney
  • Door Dash (food delivery company)
  • Dropbox
  • Etsy (e-commerce)
  • Facebook
  • Fitbit (maker of health and fitness trackers)
  • Ganni (clothing)
  • Gatorade (sports drink manufacturer)
  • Deneral Motors
  • Glossier (cosmetics)
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Google
  • H&M Clothing
  • Hourglass Cosmetics
  • IBM
  • ILIA (beauty products)
  • Intel (technology company)
  • Kosas (cosmetics)
  • Lululemon Sportswear (clothing)
  • Microsoft
  • MOTHER (denim brand)
  • Nabisco (snack manufacturer)
  • Nike
  • Oreo
  • Pokemon Company (owners of the popular card game and its characters)
  • Pretty Little Thing (women’s fashion clothing)
  • Riot Games
  • Ritz Crackers
  • Savage X Fenty (lingerie brand)
  • Scopely (mobile phone game developer)
  • Skillshare (educational videos
  • Slack
  • Sony Music Group
  • Spanx (undergarment manufacturer)
  • Spotify
  • Square Enix (Japanese computer games company)
  • Target
  • Thatgamecompany (video game development company)
  • Tinder (online dating network)
  • TOMS (shoe company)
  • Trident
  • Ubisoft (computer games)
  • Unilever (personal hygiene brands)
  • United Health Group
  • Vans
  • Verizon
  • Walmart
  • Warner Music Group
  • The Weeknd (Canadian R&B singer)

As of June 10, 2020, the following 17 corporations had pledged a combined total of more than $1.6 billion to BLM and related causes (e.g., “to combat systemic racism” and “eradicate anti-Black racism”): Amazon, Bad Robot Productions, Bank of America, Facebook, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Nike, Riot Games, Sony Music Group, Spotify, Target, United Health Group, Universal Music Group, Verizon, Walmart, and Warner Music Group.

Some specifics: During the three months that followed the May 25, 2020 killing of George Floyd:

  • H&M Clothing Company donated $500,000 to BLM and Color Of Change.
  • Clif Bar donated $100,000 to BLM and Color Of Change.
  • Cisco donated $5-million which was to be split between BLM, Color Of Change, and two other social justice platforms.
  • Ritz Crackers joined its sister companies — Oreo, Trident, and Chips Ahoy — in donating $250,000 to BLM, plus another $250,000 to the NAACP.
  • Degree, a deodorant company, donated $100,000 to BLM.
  • DoorDash donated $500,000 to BLM.
  • Stewart Butterfield, the CEO of Slack, and his wife pledged $700,000 to BLM and other social justice organizations; they also pledged to match another $300,000 in employee donations.
  • Pokeman International donated more than $100,000 to BLM.
  • Dropbox donated $500,000 to BLM.
  • Spanx donated $100,000 to be split between BLM, Color Of Change, and the Minnesota Freedom Fund (the latter of which used its share of the money to bail violent criminals out of jail).
  • Biossance Beauty Company donated $100,000 to be split between BLM, Color Of Change, the Minnesota Freedom Fund, and the ACLU.
  • Lululemon Sportswear gave $250,000 to several organizations, including BLM.
  • Square Enix donated $250,00 to BLM and pledged to match any contributions made by its employees.

In February 2021, the Black Lives Matter Foundation releasedreport showing that the BLM movement had taken in more than $90 million in donations during 2020. According to the report, most of the money raised by the foundation was from small donations that averaged about $30 apiece. The report indicated that BLM: (a) had spent $8.4 million on expenses like “staffing, operating and administrative expenses, civic engagement, programs and field expenses, rapid response, and crisis intervention”; and (b) had given some $22 million in grants to local BLM chapters and other black-owned businesses across the United States. Thus, by the the end of 2020, BLM was in possession of approximately $60 million.

In June 2020, a Daily Caller report claimed that only 6% of Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGN) spending went to local chapters and grassroots organizations, while millions of dollars were used for travel and staff compensation.

In June 2021, BLM10+ — a group consisting of the original 10 BLM chapters plus some newer chapters — demanded that the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGN) provide “financial transparency” and “internal accountability” regarding the assets it had accumulated. The father of Michael Brown — a black teenager who had been shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer in 2014 — lent his support to the efforts of BLM10+ to question the motives and the financial maneuverings of BLMGN. “To the best of our knowledge, most chapters have received little to no financial support from BLMGN since the launch in 2013,” said BLM10+. “It was only in the last few months that selected chapters appear to have been invited to apply for a $500,000 grant created with resources generated because of the organizing labor of chapters. This is not the equity and financial accountability we deserve.”

In a June 10, 2021 press release titled “Tell No Lies,” BLM10+ asserted that “nepotism, proximity to power, and access to resources became more important to the Network than making sure that they had a radical vision, objectives, and strategies created through a transparent, democratic decision making process and a solid foundation of shared governance and political alignment.” “The salaries, such as those of Patrisse Cullors, other founders, and staff have never been reported to Chapters,” the press release added. “… As we labored to build grassroots movements in our communities, our engagement with BLMGN was always problematic and unsupportive. We never knew who made decisions or how decision making processes were determined.”

Additional Resources

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