Black Activists Distance Themselves From Black Lives Matter Amid Financial Collapse

Grassroots chapters slam the charity following a Free Beacon report on BLM's fundraising troubles

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May 25, 2023

Black activists are distancing themselves from Black Lives Matter following a Washington Free Beacon report that the group is on the fast track to financial insolvency.

A coalition of 26 local Black Lives Matter chapters once closely allied with the national group slammed the charity in a Tuesday statement, which laid the blame for the group's demise on cofounder Patrisse Cullors. Cullors, a self-proclaimed "trained Marxist," has come under fire following revelations last year that Black Lives Matter used its charitable largesse to enrich her family and friends.

"The plummeting of donations to [Black Lives Matter] is further evidence that donors want to fund the work, not high-priced consultants," the coalition, Black Lives Matter Grassroots, said in the statement, adding that it is now "engaged in a fight for the soul of Black Lives Matter."

Tax documents obtained by the Free Beacon show that Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, the national arm of the movement, blew through two-thirds of the $90 million the group raised following George Floyd's death in the summer of 2020 and suffered a massive drop in donations in its 2022 fiscal year.

Black Lives Matter during the tax year ending June 2022 spent more than $10.5 million on high-priced contractors, many of whom share close ties with Cullors. Two companies run by her brother, Paul Cullors, in 2022 raked in $1.6 million providing "professional security services" for Black Lives Matter. He also collected a $126,000 salary working as "head of security" for the embattled charity, a job that entailed protecting the swanky $6 million Los Angeles mansion the charity secretly purchased with donor cash in 2021.

Shalomyah Bowers, Cullors's close associate and chosen successor to lead the charity after she resigned in May 2021, brought in $1.7 million to his company, Bowers Consulting, providing management and consulting services to Black Lives Matter in its 2022 tax year.

Bowers's control of Black Lives Matter proved to be the breaking point between the national group and the local chapters that the group once represented across the country. Black Lives Matter in 2020 founded and operated BLM Grassroots, but the coalition broke away in 2022 as several liberal states cracked down on the charity for widespread compliance issues.

BLM Grassroots in September filed a lawsuit against Black Lives Matter and Bowers, alleging that Bowers used the charity as his "personal piggy bank" to fraudulently siphon $10 million in "fees" to his company.

Bowers "continued to betray the public trust by self-dealing and breaching his fiduciary duties," the coalition said in its lawsuit. "His actions have led [Black Lives Matter] into multiple investigations by the Internal Revenue Service and various state attorney generals, blazing a path of irreparable harm to BLM in less than 18 months."

BLM Grassroots director Melina Abdullah claimed Tuesday that she had no idea Black Lives Matter was squandering charitable funds before the two groups broke apart.

"We view Black Lives Matter as a movement. So I've been less vocal about what's been happening inside of Black Lives Matter that I frankly have nothing to do with," Abdullah said on the podcast Roland Martin Unfiltered. "At the time I didn't know anything about dollars coming in or about, you know, who's getting paid what."

Black Lives Matter did not return a request for comment.