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BLACK LIVES MATTER DONATED $8 MILLION PLUS TO WHAT?


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In the tragic, whirlwind year of 2020, with racial-justice protests prompted by the killing of Black men and women by police officers, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation raised $90 million, much of it small donations from rank-and-file supporters. A recent tax filing from the group shows that by the middle of last year, more than half of that money had been granted to smaller organizations or spent on consultants and real estate, leaving the foundation with $42 million in assets.

The foundation’s finances have been subjected to criticism both from participants in the Black Lives Matter movement and from their opponents. Many local groups that are part of the movement have called for more transparency and a greater role in making decisions, as well as more money for the organizations led by activists on the ground. At the same time, opponents of Black Lives Matter have tried to portray spending by one of the group’s founders as evidence of widespread mismanagement in a manner that appears intended to impugn the cause of racial justice as well as the group.

“No one expected the foundation to grow at this pace and to this scale,” Cicley Gay, chair of the board of directors, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Now, we are taking time to build efficient infrastructure to run the largest Black, abolitionist, philanthropic organization to ever exist in the United States.”

Ms. Gay was one of three new board members that the group announced last month. In an interview on Tuesday, Shalomyah Bowers, another new member of the board, said the picture painted by the documents shows an organization retooling for the long haul.