A fool and his money are soon parted, as the saying goes: Following death through natural causes (autopsy report suppressed by media) of George Floyd on May 25, the message Black Lives Matter appeared on signs at protests across the world. Streets were painted with the words and they were one of the top searches on Google for 2020. Major corporations and high profile political leaders, even radio stations and television broadcasters bizarrely adopted the slogan to show their support in the fight ‘to end injustice’ and with all this exposure came mega donations to BLM, a grassroots group that popped up in 2013.
Public support for the Black Lives Matter movement was at an unheard-of 67 percent in June, according to Pew researchers. BLM-related causes pulled in more than $10.6 billion in donations, according to The Economist. Not much is known about how the money is being used.
The organisation’s founders, three Black women, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, have been accused on social media of not sharing a single cent with black people. Others came to BLM support, saying ‘They are donating to BLM city chapters and trying to start a bank.’
Initially, some money went to the wrong Black Lives Matter group. The Black Lives Matter Foundation was easily found on fundraising platforms such as GoFundMe. Individuals and companies including Apple and Google made huge donations meant for Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, according to an investigative article by BuzzFeed News.
BuzzFeed found that millions of dollars were funnelled unknowingly to the wrong organisation because of the name confusion. In fact, employees of ‘Apple, Google, and Microsoft have raised millions of dollars for the Black Lives Matter Foundation thinking it’s the international racial justice movement seeking to end police brutality.
That couldn’t be further from the truth,’ BuzzFeed reported.
Corporations raised $4 million for the sound-alike foundation but the money was frozen before the foundation could collect on the donations. ‘I don’t have anything to do with the Black Lives Matter Global Network. I never met them, never spoke to them. I don’t know them. I have no relationship with them,’ Barnes said.
Barnes’ foundation was registered in Delaware in 2017. Barnes has owned and operated the 501(c)(3) non-profit registered in California, since 2015. GoFundMe said it was attempting to return some of the donations.
Despite the confusion, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation raked in billions, and many are wondering well all that money has gone. The organization was formed in 2013 in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin. It uses the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media and grew into an organised movement that is protesting the alleged police murder of Floyd and other African Americans at the hands of police. Its official name is the Black Lives Matter Global Network and its charitable wing is the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
Now that BLM has achieved major attention, things seem to be falling apart for the group. There is infighting and several chapters have splintered away from the main organization. Two of the founders, Garza and Tometi, have disassociated themselves from the group. The problem is BLM grew organically without much structure.
‘The Black Lives Matter movement is buckling under the strain of its own success, with tensions rising between local chapters and national leaders over the group’s goals, direction and money,’ Politico reported.
From the beginning, the group had no central hierarchy as the concept was to keep power concentrated in the hands of the people. Soon after the start of the protests, BLM had to figure out how to offer a first round of $6.5 million in grants, far more than ever before, to city chapters, gay-rights groups and others, The Economist reported.
There is still no exact figure released on how much BLM has received in donations. That won’t be known until the central body overseeing BLM spending publishes its finances. The organization has another entity, a ‘fiscal sponsor,’ the Tides Foundation, to oversee its books. Source1, Source 2, Source 3
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