The management and distribution of funds held by the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, the umbrella organization driving a mission first introduced to the world in a viral hashtag, continues to be a topic of discussion.
On the heels of BLMGNF’s recent revelation that it raised over $90 million last year, activists in Ferguson, Mo., have issued a demand that the organization put $20 million of those funds into the community that helped put the issue of racist police violence firmly into the public’s conscience.
Michael Brown Sr., the father of Mike Brown, whose fatal shooting by then-police officer Darren Wilson prompted fiery protests in 2014, made the demand earlier this week in a public video with Ferguson organizer Tory Russell.
“Where is all that money going?” said Brown Sr. in a statement, referring to the $90 million collected by BLMGNF. “Why hasn’t my family’s foundation received any assistance from the movement? How could you leave the families who are helping the community without any funding?”
Russell, who represents the International Black Freedom Alliance, also echoed the request—calling on BLMGNF to put funding into Ferguson, where he says the movement began.
But in a statement sent in response to The Root’s inquiries, BLMGNF pointed out that the organization was not formed until 2015—a year after the Ferguson uprisings—and that it has never received a formal request for funding from the foundation founded by Brown Sr. The statement did not elaborate on whether any funding has gone to other groups near Ferguson, such as a separate foundation headed by Mike Brown Jr.’s mother, Lezley McSpadden.
Brown Sr.’s Chosen for Change Foundation has not responded to The Root’s inquiries about whether the organization has ever communicated with BLMGNF about its desire for funding before making the public demand this week. A response from IBFA was also not forthcoming.
Meanwhile, BLMGNF reiterated that it has committed $21 million of the funds it raised in 2020 to BLM chapters and Black-led organizations across the country. Last week the organization said it distributed $3 million to Black people struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In December, 10 BLM chapters across the country issued an open letter criticizing the umbrella organization for a lack of transparency about its finances and decision making. According to IBFA, the BLM10 are in solidarity with Ferguson activists’ requests for funding to be funneled into the city.
Brown Sr. and Russell say the $20 million they are demanding would be used to establish a community center in Ferguson in honor of Mike Brown Jr., and support the families of activists Darren Seals and Josh Williams—who is currently incarcerated.