BLM’s Leaders Used Charitable Funds to Enrich Themselves and Their Families, New Documents Show

by Robert Schmad


Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) has paid out millions in contracts to insiders, newly released tax documents show.

The nation’s largest BLM organization approved lucrative contracts to firms owned by members of the organization’s leadership and their family members between July 2022 and June 2023, tax filings show. The shuffling of charitable funds to private companies owned by interested parties raises considerable ethical concerns given the lack of oversight and the possible conflicts of interest, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Whether a person loves this charity’s mission or hates it, they should be angry that significant amounts of charitable dollars are being channeled to interested parties without adequate oversight in place,” Charity Watch Executive Director Laurie Styron told the DCNF. “Charities are expected to avoid both real and perceived conflicts of interest to maintain public trust. This charity is doing the opposite. The optics here are really, really bad.”

BLMGNF “has no independent oversight” as the charity’s board is too small to effectively guard against the misuse of funds from those in charge of the organization, Styron said.

The organization paid the consulting firm BOWERS* nearly $2.6 million during the time frame for “staffing and management services,” according to tax filings. Shalomyah Bowers, the secretary of the charity’s board, owns at least 35% of that firm.

Bowers also serves as the treasurer Black Lives Matter PAC, the political committee affiliated with BLMGNF. In 2023, Bowers directed the majority of the PAC’s expenditures toward paying his firm for “strategic consulting services.”

BLMGNF head of security Paul Cullors, who is co-founder Patrisse Cullors’ brother, owns at least 35% of Black Ties LLC, according to tax filings. BLMGNF paid out $1.6 million to that firm for “professional security services.”

Though BLMGNF spent a seven-figure sum on private security, the organization has called for cities to defund their police departments, according to its website.

“We call for a national defunding of police,” the BLM website reads. “We demand investment in our communities and the resources to ensure Black people not only survive, but thrive.”

New Impact Partners, a consulting firm owned by Danielle Edwards, the sister of BLMGNF director of operations Raymond Howard, was paid $913,500 for “consulting services,” according to tax forms. BLMGNF also paid “Trap Heals,” which is run by Damon Turner, who has a child with Patrisse Cullors, about $780,000 for “live production, design and media” work.

“Charities are not supposed to act as money conduits for for-profit businesses and individuals,” Doug White, a nonprofit ethics expert, told the DCNF. “Based on this, the people, all close to the founder, seem like grifters—and at the expense of the public.”

BLMGNF contract payments may fall under “private inurement,” meaning that assets may be being used for the private enrichment of insiders rather than for genuine charitable purposes, which could threaten the foundation’s charitable status, according to White.

“I have sympathy for the cause—the search for equality is a good thing, in my view, as well as the group’s other goals—but the delivery apparatus for a cause—a nonprofit—has to honor its obligations to the public,” he added.

As BLMGNF paid out millions to companies owned by employees and their relatives in 2023, the charity ran a more than $6 million deficit, according to tax filings.

BLMGNF has a history of making payments to insiders, paying out millions in contracts to companies linked to cofounder Patrisse Cullors’s friends and family during its 2022 tax filing period, the Washington Free Beacon reported. BLMGNF also used charitable dollars to purchase a $6 million mansion in Los Angeles, and Reform LA Jails, another nonprofit led by Patrisse Cullors, spent charitable funds at a luxury resort in 2019.

“This is an issue not just for donors but for taxpayers,” Styron told the DCNF. “Charities enjoy a lot of tax benefits in the form of not paying income tax on their revenue and having the ability to offer their donors tax deductions on their contributions. In exchange, charities are expected to maintain an independent governing body that makes decisions in the best interest of the charity and its mission, not for the self-enrichment of its stakeholders.”

BLMGNF did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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Robert Schmad is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.





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