Amazon suspends Black Lives Matter participation on its charity platform

Amazon suspends Black Lives Matter participation on its charity platform

This week, Amazon blocked Black Lives Matter from its AmazonSmile charity platform for not disclosing where the $60 million in donations went.

The social justice organization, which has faced scrutiny for financial transparency, will be stripped of funds raised on AmazonSmile “until they are back in line,” a spokesman for the New York Post said. It is unclear how much money has been raised on the platform.

The suspension, first reported by the Washington Examiner, deprives BLM of revenue from an organization that has provided $306 million to US charities.

This came after philanthropic auditors raised concerns about the management of BLM’s donations, when no one seemed to be able to tell who was in charge of the finances, and the group’s reluctance to release financial statements.

BLM co-founder Patrice Cullors, who resigned in May, said last week that the unaccounted for millions her group received in 2020 was due to “white corporations’ fault.”

“People need to know that we didn’t go out and extort money,” Cullors said. “It’s money that came from white fault, white corporate fault, and they just poured money in.”

Earlier this month, California and Washington threatened the group with legal threats for failing to disclose what it did with the millions it received in donations in 2020.

The group received more than $65 million in donations from the Thousand Currents charity, but did not disclose what happened to the money, according to documents filed with the California Attorney General’s Office.

This week, Amazon blocked Black Lives Matter from its AmazonSmile charity platform for not disclosing where the $60 million in donations went.

This week, Amazon blocked Black Lives Matter from its AmazonSmile charity platform for not disclosing where the $60 million in donations went.

Amazon suspends Black Lives Matter participation on its charity platform

The most recent tax return for the charity from 2019 lists an address in Los Angeles that does not exist, and the two remaining BLM directors identified by The Washington Examiner were unable to help — one even removed the BLM associations from their social media. after being contacted by the newspaper.

They have yet to file their 2020 return, Form 990, as required, which could result in a BLM fine from the IRS.

Earlier this month, the California Department of Justice warned the group’s leaders that they would be “personally responsible” for any fees and late fees.

“Charity organizations must meet the requirements set out in our membership agreement to be eligible to participate in AmazonSmile,” an Amazon spokesperson told the Washington Examiner.

“Among other eligibility requirements, organizations must be in good standing in the state of incorporation and in the states and territories where they are authorized to do business. Eligibility for organizations that do not meet the requirements listed in the agreement may be suspended or revoked. Charities may request their reinstatement once they have regained their good reputation.”

The issue arose in earnest in May 2021 when BLM co-founder Patrice Cullors stepped down as director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, the national body representing all individual local chapters.

Cullors co-founded BLM in July 2013 after a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman of the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Alicia Garza, an Oakland activist, posted what she called a love letter to black people on Facebook, writing: “Our lives matter.”

Cullors, a friend of Garza’s, responded with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

New York-based activist Opal Tometi then used those words to create a digital network of community organizers and anti-racism activists.

BLM protesters in August 2020 in Portland, Oregon.

BLM protesters in August 2020 in Portland, Oregon.

Garza and Tometi are no longer associated with the network, and Cullors was its figurehead and leader during the George Floyd protests, during which huge donations were received.

The organization’s finances have been managed by a group called the Thousand Currents, which says it has a “mission to support mass movements striving for a more just and equal world.”

In the summer of 2020, the leaders requested nonprofit status with the IRS, which was granted in December 2020, allowing the organization to directly receive tax-free donations.

The appointment requires the foundation to file public 990 forms disclosing details of its organizational structure, employee compensation, programs, and expenses.

In September 2020, Cullors signed paperwork with Thousand Currents to transfer $66.5 million to BLM accounts.

In February 2021, Black Lives Matter confirmed that it received $90 million during 2020, which was distributed to their partner organizations, leaving $60 million left in its accounts.

In a report shared with AP, the BLM Foundation said that individual donations through its main fundraising platform averaged $30.76 each.

More than 10 percent of donations were recurring.

The report does not indicate who gave the money in 2020, and the leaders declined to name known donors.

Expenses totaled approximately $8.4 million, including staff costs, operating and administrative expenses, and activities such as public participation, rapid response, and crisis intervention.

At the time, BLM said they were sharing the details in order to be more transparent, acknowledging that their structure and finances had previously been opaque.

But two months later, in April 2021, reports provided by the National Center for Law and Policy began to emerge that showed Cullors had amassed a $3.2 million property empire.

Patrice Cullors (pictured) co-founded BLM in July 2013 with Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza.  She left the group in May 2021.

Patrice Cullors (pictured) co-founded BLM in July 2013 with Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza. She left the group in May 2021.

Cullors, Garza and Tometi (left to right) co-founded the group, but Garza and Tometi departed, leaving Cullors in charge as chief executive.

Cullors, Garza and Tometi (left to right) co-founded the group, but Garza and Tometi departed, leaving Cullors in charge as chief executive.

Garza (center) and Tometi (left) are no longer affiliated with BLM.  Cullors (right) was its figurehead and leader during the 2020 George Floyd protests, when huge donations poured into the country.

Garza (center) and Tometi (left) are no longer affiliated with BLM. Cullors (right) was its figurehead and leader during the 2020 George Floyd protests, when huge donations poured into the country.

Cullors in 2015 speaking at Harvard Law School.

Cullors in 2015 speaking at Harvard Law School.

It is unclear who is currently leading the activist group after all three of its founding members – Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi – left the organization.

Cullors, 38, stepped down as chief executive of the Black Lives Matter Global Network last year amid scrutiny of her $3.2 million property empire.

BLMGN’s financial scrutiny began after it was revealed the group transferred $6.3 million to Cullors’ wife Janaya Khan and other Canadian activists to purchase a Toronto mansion in 2001.

The most recent tax return for the charity from 2019 lists an address in Los Angeles that does not exist, and the two remaining BLM directors identified by The Washington Examiner were unable to help — one even removed the BLM associations from their social media. after being contacted by the newspaper.

They have yet to file their 2020 return, Form 990, as required, which could result in a BLM fine from the IRS.

Lori Styron, chief executive of CharityWatch, said the results were deeply troubling and said they should have filed the 2020 form by now.

“Like a giant ghost ship full of treasure, drifting through the night with no captain, no discernible crew, and no clear direction,” she said.

Black Lives Matter has grown into a global organization.  Protesters in Leeds, England on June 21, 2020

Black Lives Matter has grown into a global organization. Protesters in Leeds, England on June 21, 2020

Makani Temba was announced as director of BLM in May 2021, but never agreed on terms and took the job. Monifa Bandele was also appointed director of BLM but, like Temba, did not accept the position.

Makani Temba (left) and Monifa Bandele were announced as directors of BLM in May 2021, but never agreed on terms and were not hired.

Demonstrators protest in May 2020 in response to the death of George Floyd.

Demonstrators protest in May 2020 in response to the death of George Floyd.

BLM protesters fight police in Washington, D.C. during the RNC in August 2020

BLM protesters fight police in Washington, D.C. during the RNC in August 2020

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