For all its talk of being a street uprising, Black Lives Matter is increasingly awash in cash, raking in pledges of more than $100 million from liberal foundations and others eager to contribute to what has become the grant-making cause du jour.
The Ford Foundation and Borealis Philanthropy recently announced the formation of the Black-Led Movement Fund [BLMF], a six-year pooled donor campaign aimed at raising $100 million for the Movement for Black Lives coalition.
That funding comes in addition to more than $33 million in grants to the Black Lives Matter movement from top Democratic Party donor George Soros through his Open Society Foundations, as well as grant-making from the Center for American Progress.
“The BLMF provides grants, movement building resources, and technical assistance to organizations working advance the leadership and vision of young, Black, queer, feminists and immigrant leaders who are shaping and leading a national conversation about criminalization, policing and race in America,” said the Borealis announcement.
In doing so, however, the foundations have aligned themselves with the staunch left-wing platform of the Movement for Black Lives, which unveiled a policy agenda shortly after the fund was announced accusing Israel of being an “apartheid state” guilty of “genocide.”
Released Aug. 1, the platform also calls for defunding police departments, race-based reparations, breaking, voting rights for illegal immigrants, fossil-fuel divestment, an end to private education and charter schools, a “universal basic income,” and free college for blacks.
As far as critics are concerned, the grab-bag platform combined with the staggering underwriting commitment offer more evidence that Black Lives Matter is being used as a conduit for left-wing politics as usual.
“It’s about time people woke up to the fact that big money is using people as pawns to stoke racial hatred and further their global agenda,” said the Federalist Papers Project’s C.E. Dyer.
Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, said corporations and others may want to think twice about partnering with the Ford Foundation, the fifth-largest U.S. philanthropy with $12.4 billion in assets.
“The Ford Foundation has traditionally been leftist, at least since the 1970s, on law-enforcement matters. So it’s not a huge surprise, but it’s certainly disappointing,” said Mr. Johnson. “I guess potential donors may want to look at the [Black Lives Matter] movement and see the damage, destruction and murders that they’ve left in their wake.”
For Black Lives Matter, the grant-making partnership isn’t risk free, lending legitimacy to the movement but also credence to those who say it has strayed from the concerns of black Americans calling for equal treatment at the hands of police.
“I think whoever’s in charge of vetting a grant like that didn’t do their homework,” said Mr. Johnson. “Or maybe this was already in the works before they realized what exactly they were dealing with before this platform came out—before it became more apparent that it’s become today’s Velcro for what the leftist-fringe movement desires.”
And that’s a shame, he said, “because instead of having a serious movement that might have been a basis for dialogue and improving relations in communities, especially communities of color, it’s kind of become in some ways a very violent movement, in some ways a very, very far-left [movement] with an almost statist agenda.”
Borealis and Ford did not return requests Wednesday asking for comment, but one of the newly launched fund’s partners, the Movement Strategy Center in Oakland, California, praised the foundations for bringing resources to “this transformative movement.”
“Ensuring that all Black Lives Matter, in this land and around the world, will require an infusion of assets into Black communities,” said the center in an Aug. 8 statement.
In their July 19 announcement, Ford Foundation program officers Brook Kelly-Green and Luna Yasui said that, “Now is the time to call for an end to state violence directed at communities of color.”