The Black Lives Matter motion has sparked an outpouring of greater than $1 billion in company giving — and launched a wild scramble for the cash amongst a dozen BLM teams scattered throughout the nation.
Some are for-profit, some are nonprofit however all are positioned to assert large bucks in company pledges from corporations comparable to Bank of America, Walmart and Fb.
4 are already in hassle with the IRS, in accordance with public information.
They present that BLM charities in New York, Vermont, Florida and South Carolina have had their nonprofit standing revoked by the IRS for failing to file annual returns.
There’s additionally confusion among the many teams, together with a scarcity of transparency, which is alarming watchdogs.
Robert Ray Barnes, a music producer from California, included the Black Lives Matter Basis in California in May 2015, greater than a yr earlier than BLM World Community — the self-styled chief of the motion — was based as a for-profit agency in Delaware, information present.
Some donors received the 2 blended up.
Barnes, 67, who began his shoe-string outfit after a pal was gunned down by Los Angeles police in 2011, runs it from his residence Santa Clarita. He’s the one worker.
Robert Ray BarnesCaleb Lunetta/The SignalHe paid himself $24,000 to run the group in 2017, the most recent tax filings present. The charity took in $279,109 in 2017, and spent $189,000 on homeless companies and producing a rap video to boost consciousness of police violence within the black group.
However Barnes, who ended up marrying his pal’s widow and elevating her two younger youngsters, almost ended up with hundreds of thousands as a result of some who needed to think about his group was the nationally acknowledged World Community.
“What appears to have happened to me is that when people searched for Black Lives Matter, the Global Network didn’t return anyone’s calls,” Barnes advised The Submit.
“So they thought I was the main group because I return all calls to my charity.”
Staff at Apple, Microsoft, Dropbox and Google halted their plans to provide greater than $four million to Barnes’ group via on-line charity platforms final month after BuzzFeed reported the nonprofit didn’t signify the broader Black Lives Matter motion.
Black Lives Matter protesters carrying banners march on the West Aspect Freeway in Manhattan.Stefan JeremiahBarnes’s basis received an extra slap on the wrist weeks in the past when New York’s Legal professional Common Letitia James demanded the group “cease solicitation” of New York donations as a result of it had not registered as a charity within the state.
Barnes advised The Submit he had by no means requested for donations in New York. He mentioned he now plans to fill out the required paperwork to register right here.
Precisely how a lot BLM World Community raises or spends — or pays its executives — is unknown as a result of for-profits are usually not required to reveal such information, as nonprofits are.
It’s to not be confused with BLM World Community Basis, which was included as a charity in 2017 but it surely doesn’t have a federal tax exemption, information present.
Patrisse Cullors and Kailee ScalesCassidy Sparrow/Getty Photos for Black Lives MatterFounded by activists Patrisse Cullors and Kailee Scales, the Oakland, Calif.-based BLM World Community Basis claims to have chapters all through the US, UK and Canada, and a mission “to eradicate White supremacy and build power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities.”
It sells a number of merchandise, together with T-shirts, masks and mugs, claiming that unspecified proceeds assist fund the motion.
Donations undergo ActBlue Charities, a web-based fundraising platform that additionally collects cash for progressive causes linked to the Democratic tremendous PAC ActBlue.
In 2019, ActBlue raised greater than $1 billion in on-line funds for Democratic candidates.
“What the ActBlue charity does with that [the Black Lives Matter] money is not entirely clear,” mentioned Lloyd Mayer, an knowledgeable on nonprofit regulation on the College of Notre Dame’s Regulation Faculty.
“The arrangement is not transparent.”
A spokesperson for ActBlue Charities mentioned the group passes alongside contributions “directly to the receiving campaign or group.” Its web site says that “Your contribution will benefit Black Lives Matter Support Fund at Tides Foundation,” a nonprofit that administers cash for different charities.
Black Lives Matter World Community Basis has mentioned that it additionally works together with Thousand Currents, one other nonprofit that helps grassroots organizations administer their donations.
New York Legal professional Common Letitia JamesDavid McGlynnNeither Thousand Currents nor BLM World Community returned The Submit’s calls or emails.
Consultants say it’s not unusual for fundraisers to arrange for-profit corporations that aren’t restricted in what they will do, like charities are. However with the intention to elevate cash, the for-profit firm should accomplice with a nonprofit.