BLM Has Nearly $42 Million in Assets
The Black Lives Matter organization is valued in the tens of millions of dollars, according to its latest tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service.
According to 63-pages of tax documents acquired by the Associated Press, executives of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation Inc. have nearly $42 million in assets, despite spending more than $37 million from July 2020 to June 2021.
The $37 million was spent on grants, real estate, consultants and other expenses.
BLM received $90 million in donations amid the 2020 protests and riots that were carried out in major cities across the U.S. following the death of George Floyd. The foundation reports it invested $32 million in stocks from the $90 million in donations, according to the tax documents.
Organizers tell the Associated Press that the investment is expected to become an endowment to ensure the foundation’s work continues in the future.
The foundation has an operating budget of $4 million, a board member told the Associated Press, but the tax filing showed the BLM Foundation spent nearly $6 million on a mansion in Los Angeles, according to the report.
The BLM Foundation has operated as a nonprofit sponsored by a charity before it became an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit in December 2020, requiring it to publicly disclose its finances.
“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,” said Shalomyah Bowers, the foundation’s board secretary.
Brian Mittendorf, Ph.D., an accounting professor at Ohio State University, said the disclosure will likely set up the foundation for criticism as its “huge windfall” has a “mismatch” and “gaps” in its data.
“It comes across as an early startup nonprofit, without substantial governance structure in place, that got a huge windfall,” Mittendorf told the outlet.
“People are going to be quick to assume that mismatch reflects intent. Whether there’s anything improper here, that is another question,” the professor continued. “But whether they set themselves up for being criticized, I think that certainly is the case because they didn’t plug a bunch of those gaps.”
Last month, Black Lives Matter was forced to defend its purchase of a multimillion-dollar mansion using donor funds after it sparked criticism on social media.
The foundation said it was “embracing this moment as an opportunity for accountability, healing, truth-telling, and transparency” and it was “working intentionally to rebuild trust” after it purchased the Creator’s House in California, which cost nearly $6 million.
“We apologize for the distress this has caused to our supporters and those who work in service of Black liberation daily,” the organization said, responding to the purchase and subsequent backlash.
The BLM Foundation started in 2013 after the death of Trayvon Martin, 17, and grew following the death of Michael Brown, 18, the following year.
Shalomyah Bowers, who serves as the BLM foundation’s board secretary, said the foundation plans to launch a “transparency and accountability center” on its website to make its financial documents available for public inspection.