CharityWatch has issued a rating of "?" to Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF), which indicates that we have specific concerns about the organization's financial reporting. Specifically, BLMGNF's lack of an independent governing body and its multiple related party transactions during the reporting year cause CharityWatch to question if the charity's financial reporting can be relied upon for purposes of assessing how efficiently the charity raised and spent public dollars during its fiscal year 2021.
For the financial period July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, BLMGNF reports that its board of directors consisted of only one person, Patrisse Cullors, Founder & Executive Director. The number of governing body "voting members...who are independent" is reported as zero (IRS Form 990, Part VII, Section A and Part VI, Section A, lines 1a & 1b).
According to the BLMGNF consolidated audit of June 30, 2021 (Note 8, Related Party Transactions):
"During the year ended June 30, 2021, BLMGNF entered into the following transactions with related parties:
- At June 30, 2021, BLMGNF recorded a receivable for travel and other expense reimbursements due from the Executive Director totaling $73,523.
- A sibling of the Executive Director owned a security and protection company, which was paid $840,993 for security services during the year ended June 30, 2021.
- A related party to the Executive Director of BLMGNF was a board member of M4BJ operating as Black Lives Matter Canada, which was granted $8,024,626 during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021.
- BLMGNF received unconditional, unrestricted grants totaling $69,164,086 from Thousand Currents, a 501(c)(3) organization which formerly acted as the fiscal sponsor of BLMGNF."
With respect to the $73,523 "receivable for travel and other expense reimbursements due from the Executive Director" cited above, the BLMGNF fiscal 2021 tax filing reports: "This was not a loan; includes other receivables for travel & reimbursements." It also reports: "Charter travel for the Executive Director was incurred due to security threats and during the COVID pandemic. This travel was for organizational purposes. The expenditure was voluntarily reimbursed subsequent to year end" (IRS Form 990, Schedule L, Part V). In addition, there was no written agreement in place re: the $73,523, and the transactions were not approved by a board or committee, according to the tax form reporting (IRS Form 990, Schedule L, Part II).
With respect to the $840,993 paid "for security services" cited above, the BLMGNF fiscal 2021 tax filing reports this as a business transaction involving interested persons involving Paul Cullors of Cullors Protection LLC. The transaction is described as: "Professional security services;" the "Relationship between interested person and the organization" is described as: "Family member of Founder & Executive Director" (IRS Form 990, Schedule L, Parts IV & V).
BLMGNF is currently named as a co-Defendant in a lawsuit filed by Plaintiff, Black Lives Matter Grassroots, Inc. (BLM Grassroots). BLM Grassroots is suing BLMGNF, along with a leader of the Foundation, Shalomyah Bowers, and Mr. Bowers' consulting firm, for allegedly "syphoning" millions of dollars in donations from BLMGNF into his own "personal piggy bank" (Black Lives Matter Grassroots, Inc. v. Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc., et al., Complaint, ¶1). The suit also alleges that Bowers, who was hired by BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors to help operate BLMGNF and aid in its transition to BLM Grassroots, did not follow the transition plan set up by Cullors. (Bowers is the BLMGNF officer that, as Board Secretary, signed the BLMGNF IRS Form 990 tax filing for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021. His signature is dated May 13, 2022.)