Fundraising by the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation dropped by 88%, to $9.3 million, in the fiscal year ending in June 2022. It’s a precipitous decline from the summer of 2020, when Black Lives Matter was riding high on the back of statewide rallies after George Floyd’s death and made $80 million.
The Black Lives Matter nonprofit exploited its windfall to amass property and lavishly reward its leadership. The company’s founder, Patrisse Cullors, recently spent $3.2 million on four properties in California and Georgia. In October 2020, the foundation used donor funds to buy a lavish $6 million Los Angeles home, where Cullors filmed films of herself drinking wine and preparing peach cobblers. Black Lives Matter wasn’t pleased with its growing American real estate empire, so it gave its Canadian affiliate $8 million for the $6.3 million purchase of a mansion in Toronto in July 2021.
The people closest to Cullors benefited as well. Her brother Paul Cullors, with no prior training as a bodyguard, was paid $840,993 by Black Lives Matter for “professional security services,” according to financial records submitted in May 2022. Paul Cullors eventually spent $637,000 on a property of his own in Los Angeles, which he bought in December 2020. Cullors’s lone child’s father, Damon Turner, owns an art studio that received $969,459. Black Lives Matter board member, and close Cullors associate Shalomyah Bowers’ consulting firm was paid $2,167,894 for their efforts.
Cullors almost cracked under the expectation that she would publicly expose the self-dealing at Black Lives Matter while in charge. As she explained in a meeting in April 2022, she is “triggered” if she reads or hears “IRS Form 990,” which is the standard annual financial disclosure form that all nonprofits must file with the public.
In a lawsuit filed in September 2022, Black Lives Matter Grassroots, an offshoot organization founded by Cullors’s close friend Bowers, accused him of utilizing the charity as a personal bank account. After Black Lives Matter reported $2,167,894 in donations on its Form 990, the lawsuit claimed that Bowers diverted an extra $10 million in “fees” to his consulting firm.
BLM Grassroots alleged in its lawsuit against Bowers that in less than a year and a half, his actions led to multiple investigations by the Internal Revenue Service, doing irreparable harm to BLM.