Patrisse Cullors, Black Lives Matter founder, expressed displeasure with the nonprofit sector’s charity transparency laws after BLM purchased a $6 million mansion in Los Angeles. Cullors said she found it “triggering and emotionally compromising” when she hears about financial documents being made public.
“It is such a trip now to hear the term ‘990,’” Cullors said at the Vashon Center for the Arts Friday. “I’m, like, ugh. It’s, like, triggering. Cullors went on to say, “I actually didn’t know what 990s were before all of this happened,” (SEE VIDEO ABOVE)
My name is Jimmy LaRose, and as a fellow nonprofit co-founder, I can make sense of a thoughtful strategic decision that may result in a property purchase using donor dollars. The National Association of Nonprofit Organizations and Executives’ mission is to ensure charities achieve significant impact by applying the same free-market enterprise principles we know work in the for-profit sector.
However, I can also imagine any number of wrong reasons to purchase a $6 million mansion.
Regardless, that’s not what this article is about. Rather, let me shout it from the mountaintop, “TRANSPARENCY IS NOT A TRIGGER…TRANSPARENCY IS A GIFT.”
Transparency is a gift to the nonprofit, transparency is a gift to the community, transparency is a gift to donors. Transparency is ACCOUNTABILITY’S CORNERSTONE. It promotes sound-decision making. It produces right choices.
Let’s get back to Patrisse Cullors.
Cullors claimed that activists’ lives are put at risk and that they endure trauma by having to disclose their charities’ finances, while also claiming the system “is being literally weaponized against us,” the Washington Examiner reported.
“This doesn’t seem safe for us, this 990 structure — this nonprofit system structure,” she said. “This is, like, deeply unsafe. This is being literally weaponized against us, against the people we work with.”
“People’s morale in an organization is so important. But if their organization and the people in it are being attacked and scrutinized at everything they do, that leads to deep burnout. That leads to deep, like, resistance and trauma,” Cullors added.
Cullors blasted the media scrutiny of BLM as an “experiment” that will be used as a means to bring down other activist groups similar to her organization.
“They know what they’re doing: how to create the infighting, how to create the distrust,” she said. “We have to stop it before they do it. We have to shut it down. We have to be showing up against it.”
Cullors left her leadership post with BLM in May 2021 amid scrutiny of multiple real estate purchases.
She also used the $6 million mansion purchased by the BLM Global Network Foundation as a “safe place” for at least four nights during an FBI investigation into a death threat made against her.
Cullors is facing renewed scrutiny over the mansion purchase, with the BLM co-founder defending the purchase in a lengthy Twitter thread this past Monday.
Patrisse evidently didn’t know that financial transparency preserves the very-important trust each donor places in a nonprofit with each contribution. Earning trust through financial transparency and accountability goes beyond what the law requires, but let’s start there: Nonprofits are required to disclose certain financial information to the public upon request; board members have access to financial information in order to fulfill their fiduciary duty to the nonprofit.
Let me close with a simple suggestion. Black Lives Matter may benefit from joining NANOE. Nonprofits who secure NANOE’s Best Practice Charity Medallion demonstrate their commitment to share clear and important information with the public regarding their goals, strategies, capabilities and achievements. NANOE’s Best Practice Charity Medallion celebrates a nonprofit’s charitable impact.
We welcome your comments on Black Lives Matter transparency issues. Feel free to share your experiences with your own Form 990.
Patrisse Cullors, Black Lives Matter Founder, Thinks Form 990s Are Bad for Nonprofits was first posted at INSIDE CHARITY
Patrisse Cullors, Black Lives Matter Founder, Thinks Form 990s Are Bad for Nonprofits is an abstract of William La Jeunesse’s report on Patrisse Cullors’ reaction to disclosure forms.
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Jimmy LaRose is recognized around the world as charity’s great 21st Century Champion. LaRose’s work as an entrepreneur, author, fundraiser, speaker and co-founder of NANOE (National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives) has raised hundreds of millions of dollars around the world for people in need. His best-selling book RE-IMAGINING PHILANTHROPY has been named by BookAuthority as one of the 100 Best Philanthropy Books of All Time.