BLM Global Foundation Leaders Face Fines
BLM Global Foundation Leaders Face Fines

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) Global Foundation has been given 60 days to hand over its annual financial statement to California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office. The clock started ticking Jan. 31.

The Oakland, Calif.-based organization is delinquent in filing annual financial statements with the state’s Registry of Charitable Trusts.

The letter to the organization from Bonta gives BLM Global Foundation 60 days to file an Annual Registration Renewal Fee Report along with a renewal fee, as well as a copy of whichever Form 990 document for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2020 is appropriate for the organization.

BLM Global Foundation had received a closure notice informing the organization it had not successfully completed its registration or renewal from the Washington [state] Secretary of State Corporations and Charities Division in early January, the Washington Examiner had previously reported. That letter similarly told the organization to suspend soliciting funds. According to the Examiner, BLM Global Foundation continued to solicit online within Washington state.

The Examiner also noted that at the time there were questions about BLM Global Foundation’s registration in Connecticut, Main, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia.

GuideStar lists hundreds of loosely or unaffiliated BLM-affiliated organizations. The BLM Foundation at the same address used within Bonta’s letter had submitted a 990-EZ form for 2019 indicating the organization’s application was pending, but nothing since then. That form showed no revenue or assets for the organization.

BLM Global Foundation reported $60 million in assets in a 2020 impact report the organization issued in early 2021.

Bonta’s letter goes on to note that if the documents are not submitted to the California Registry of Charitable Trusts within 60 days, the California Franchise Tax Board would be notified. The Franchise Tax Board would have the option of then revoking the organization’s tax-exempt status.

Separately, the Registry of Charitable Trusts would levy late fees for every month or partial month of delinquencies, according to the letter. “Directors, trustees, offices and return prepares responsible for failure to timely file these reports are also personally liable for payment of all late fees” [emphasis theirs]. Bonta wrote.

“Charitable assets cannot be used to pay these avoidable costs,” the letter continued, adding that delinquent organizations were not allowed to participate in activities that require state registration, such as soliciting or disbursing charitable assets.

Turnover at the top of the BLM Global Foundation may be a contributing factor to the delinquent documents. Co-founders Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, as well as co-founder and former Executive Director Patrisse Cullors, are no longer with the organization. Neither public sources nor the organization’s own website clearly indicate who the current leaders are.

Published reports indicated Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson had also sent a request for delinquent documents, but The NonProfit Times was not able to obtain a copy of it, nor there any mention of it on the Washington State Office of the Attorney General’s website.

An email to BLM Global Foundation asking for comment on the Bonta letter was not answered at deadline.