Donations Intended for Black Lives Matter Instead Go To Unaffiliated Group with Near-Identical Name
June 19th, 2020
In the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of police, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced in an email to employees earlier this month that the company was donating $250,000 each to six organizations that are “advancing social justice, helping community organizers address racial inequality and offering solidarity to the Black community.” In addition, Nadella wrote, the company was matching employees’ contributions to these groups.
The first one on the list: the Black Lives Matter Foundation.
According to BuzzFeed News, fellow tech giants Apple and Google, among others, made similar appeals to encourage employees to donate to the foundation.
Within a couple weeks, more than $4 million was reportedly raised for the Black Lives Matter Foundation, an organization whose founder says he has nothing to do with the international movement that started in 2013 in response to the acquittal of the officer who fatally shot unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin.
“I have no relationship with them,” Robert Ray Barnes, the founder of the Black Lives Matter Foundation, who is Black, told BuzzFeed News, referring to Black Lives Matter. “Our whole thing is having unity with the police department.”
Barnes’ foundation seeks to bring the community and police “closer together.” Meanwhile, one of the recent rallying cries of Black Lives Matter, which is focused in part on building “local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes,” has been to “defund the police.”
But while their goals may be different, their official names are almost identical, leading to the confusion. In fact, the only thing separating one from the other is an “Inc” at the end of the official name of the movement: the Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc. (Each accuses the other of improperly using its name, according to reporting by BuzzFeed News.)
Money getting redirected
According to BuzzFeed News, the “bulk” of the money raised for the Black Lives Matter Foundation was frozen before it could be dispersed. Now, the fundraising platforms through which the donations were made are working to redirect the funds so that the money goes to causes supported by Black Lives Matter.
If you are looking to donate to Black Lives Matter, you can do so directly on the movement’s website.
Find more of our coverage on charitable giving here.