Last year Black Lives Matter Inc. raked in tens of millions-of-dollars as cities around the country were burned in riots, totaling more than $1 billion in damage.
But according to a new report from the Associated Press, the $90 million donated to the political group in 2020 isn't reaching local activists. BLM has been around since 2014 and has been backed by big name celebrities and the Democrat Party.
A group of 10 chapters, called the #BLM10, rejected the foundation’s funding offer last year and complained publicly about the lack of donor transparency. Foundation leaders say only a few of the 10 chapters are recognized as network affiliates.
In a letter released Nov. 30, the #BLM10 claimed most chapters have received little to no financial resources from the BLM movement since its launch in 2013. That has had adverse consequences for the scope of their organizing work, local chapter leaders told the AP.
The chapters are simply asking for an equal say in “this thing that our names are attached to, that they are doing in our names,” said April Goggans, organizer of Black Lives Matter DC, which is part of the #BLM10 along with groups in Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, San Diego, Hudson Valley, New York, and elsewhere.
“We are BLM. We built this, each one of us,” she said.
Records show some chapters have received multiple rounds of funding in amounts ranging between $800 and $69,000, going back as far as 2016. The #BLM10 said the amounts given have been far from equitable when compared to how much BLM has raised over the years.
Another report recently published in POLITICO shows many individuals who founded the movement continue to take advantage of its public success while shafting local activists.
"The operations of Black Lives Matter have always been opaque, with thousands of members and dozens of affiliates. Two of its three co-founders are no longer affiliated with the movement — even as they continue to represent Black Lives Matter on TV. Local Black Lives Matter activists say national leaders cut them off from funding and decision-making, leaving them broke and taking the movement in a direction with which they fundamentally disagree. And as the Black Lives Matter movement grows in influence, with millions in donations and celebrity endorsements, local organizers argue they’re the ones in the streets pushing for change — and they’re not getting their due," the outlet reported in December.
So, where did the money go? And how is it being used now? It's still hard to tell.
"Leaders at the BLM foundation admit that they have not been clear about the movement’s finances and governance over the years. But now the foundation is more open about such matters. It says the fiscal sponsor currently managing its money requires spending be approved by a collective action fund, which is a board made up of representatives from official BLM chapters," the AP reports.