While the statement that “black lives matter” continues to gain steam in the wake of a barrage of killings of black people by police, both conservative and leftist activists continue to warn against supporting the Black Lives Matter Global Network nonprofit organization.
A recently-published audit reported by the Daily Caller revealing millions spent on travel, consultants, and staff compensation reinforces that warning.
The Caller cites audited financial statements prepared by its fiscal sponsor, Thousand Currents, from July 2017 to June 2019, which found that:
BLM Global Network spent $899,000 on travel, $1.6 million on consulting and $2.1 million on personnel costs during its 2017, 2018 and 2019 fiscal years, the financial statements show, together comprising 83.3% of its total spending during the three year period. BLM Global Network granted $328,000 to outside organizations, which include local BLM chapters, during that same time frame, a figure that represents about 6% of its total spending.
“The numbers you have for the prior years do not reflect, for example, the in kind support for chapters and fundraising directed to chapters and programmatic assistance to chapters, that would not show up as direct grants on the audited financials,” BLM Global Network Managing Director Kailee Scales told the Caller last Tuesday. “That work was carried out by employees and consultants to BLM.”
However, Scales did not answer when asked how much of the nonprofit’s spending during those years reflected the in-kind assistance she says BLM Global Network gave to its local chapters rather than the development of the various art projects the organization advertises as program areas on its website.
Scales added that BLM Global Network is not responsible for preparing the financial statements and that Thousand Currents, another charity based in California, has acted as a fiscal sponsor for BLM since 2016.
“The numbers you cite from the annual information return form [sic] our fiscal sponsor reflect IRS-required reporting categories that bear no relationship to how our programs have actually been run,” Scales said. “These are not numbers developed by BLM Global Network Foundation and we cannot speak to how they were calculated.”
Scales also said that her organization has increased its grant programs substantially during the current fiscal year, granting “over $770,000” to outside organizations between the beginning of June 2019 and the end of April 2020. Financial statements for the current fiscal year, however, are not yet available.
Unsurprisingly, the cascade of recent police deaths, most notably that of George Floyd, has led to a huge influx of donations for BLM.
The organization announced earlier in June that it was launching a $6.5 million fund to support its affiliated local chapters with grants of up to $500,000 after donations began flooding into the organizations after Floyd’s death.
On Wednesday, the organization announced an additional $6 million grant fund to support black-led grassroots organization groups. BLM Global Network told the Associated Press it has received more than 1.1 million donations since Floyd’s death. The average donation clocked in at $33, according to the AP.
BLM Global Network has been the subject of controversy for some time, especially from a former associate.
Ashley Yates, a former BLM activist, has publicly criticized BLM Global Network as far back as 2018 for having a troubling lack of transparency. Yates has also accused the group of blowing money on excessive travel and compensation for its top staffers while giving very little to its chapters.
BlackLivesMatter fiscal sponsor took in 6.5 million the year after Ferguson, 2015, and less than 2 mil) in 2014 (when BLM didn’t even exist).
WHERE IS ALL THE MONEY?
Chapters get very minimal and everyone in charge of the money is a LIAR.
6.5 MILLION. IN ONE YEAR. pic.twitter.com/uAiOSAdAzJ
— ashley yates (@brownblaze) January 26, 2019
“I had concerns since the donations started rolling in from day one and I asked each of the co founders individually what happened to all the money several times,” Yates tweeted in January 2019. “Each time I got the run around, outright dismissed.”
Oh, and *retreats/vacations. Lots of those.
— ashley yates (@brownblaze) January 2, 2018
In the wake of the BLM movement’s renewed vigor, Yates has pleaded with supporters of the idea that black lives matter not to give any money to the organization by the same name:
Again: please stop giving money to BlackLivesMatter Network.
By their own admission they have no staff and no infrastructure.
in 6 years they've not produced a single community program, sponsored a single piece of legislation or financially supported a single chapter. https://t.co/E1CW3lLiyb
— ashley yates (@brownblaze) June 8, 2020
If you appreciate the work we are doing to fight the leftist assault on our values, please consider a small donation to help us continue. Thank you so much!