Recently, reports emerged that the civil rights organization Black Lives Matter (BLM) is grappling with severe financial challenges, even as it continues to fund marketing campaigns, engage in congressional lobbying, and make substantial payments to large companies to advance diversity initiatives.
BLM, a prominent voice in the June 2020 protests following the death of African-American George Floyd, ended 2022 with a US$9 million deficit.
This significant financial shortfall resulted from a steep decrease in donations, coupled with unchanged operational expenses.
Financial documents accessed by Free Beacon reveal that the organization’s cash deficit is twice the total funds raised last year, with overall expenses reaching US$ 17 million.
Simultaneously, millions of dollars have reportedly been transferred from BLM’s coffers to the family members of the organization’s founder, Patrisse Cullors, in addition to the continued payments to politicians, educational institutions, businesses, and extensive marketing campaigns.
The organization’s financial difficulties are underlined by the fact that, in 2022, despite reporting net earnings of US$42 million and ending the year with total assets of US$30 million, BLM’s balance sheet reflected a decrease of about US$11.75 million from the start of the financial year.
This means the group spent two-thirds of the US$90 million it earned in a year.
Still, the organization managed to fund advertising and affiliate companies, including one owned by Cullors’ successor, Shalomyah Bowers.
In the past, associated groups such as BLM Grassroots criticized Bowers and BLM for allegedly misappropriating funds, such as a US$1,063,500 payment to a company owned by Danielle Edwards, a Black Lives Matter board member, for consultation services.
Another significant expenditure is related to Paul Cullors, the brother of the former leader, who received a salary of US$125,000 along with monthly payments of US$ 15,000 for his role as “security” for the organization.
Audits revealed that his company, Black Ties LLC, was paid US$ 756,330 for security services, amounting to US$ 1,602,185 under this category.
Notably, a US$600,000 payment to an unidentified member for consultation services was also discovered, following a heated contract dispute with the organization.
Patrisse Cullors’ company, Trap Heals, received close to US$ 1 million in 2021, even though Cullors herself, like her brother and another director named Kailee Scales (who received a salary of US$ 115,000), did not draw a salary from BLM.
However, the organization’s financial struggles were not solely due to payments to its top members but also due to funding programs that faced significant donor criticism over their relevance and cost-effectiveness.
An example includes a near million-dollar grant to the father of Patrisse Cullors’ son for live events and other “creative community services”.
Following allegations of misuse of funds, Cullors resigned from her position with the organization at the end of 2021, although payments to her family didn’t cease until the end of 2022.
A steep decline in donations and financial mismanagement led to BLM’s standing as a reputable organization taking a significant hit.
Between 2021 and 2022, donations plummeted by 88%, causing the organization’s fundraising to decrease by US$77 million.
Black Lives Matter only raised US$9.3 million in the last fiscal year.
Further controversy arose in May 2022 when it was revealed that the organization had purchased luxury properties in Los Angeles and Toronto, valued at US$12 million, using funds raised through donations.
Although BLM initially claimed the Canadian property would serve as its operational center in Canada, it was never used for this purpose.
Following Cullors’ resignation, activist Cicley Gay took over the organization’s reins.
However, Gay has filed for bankruptcy and was mandated by the court to take financial and management education classes.
As of May 2022, Gay’s personal debt amounted to US$ 120,000. She had filed for bankruptcy three separate times, in 2005, 2013, and 2016, and had three dependents.
As a result, the court expressed concerns about her ability to manage the organization effectively, a skill she must now demonstrate through various courses in the coming months.
With information from Derecha Diario
Black Lives Matter, Cicley Gay, donations for Black Lives Matter, BLM, Free Beacon, Patrisse Cullors