Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLM Global Network Foundation) is the primary organizational outgrowth of the more decentralized Black Lives Matter movement. It is a fiscally-sponsored project of the Tides Center, an affiliate of the Tides Foundation, a major left-of-center donor-advised fund.  BLM Global Network Foundation is affiliated with the Black Lives Matter PAC and with Black Lives Matter Grassroots.
Mission and Activities
BLM Global Network Foundation was founded in 2013 by activists Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.  Cullors, Garza, and Tometi created and popularized the “#blacklivesmatter” hashtag on social media that was instrumental in the early growth of the Black Lives Matter movement.  BLM Global Network Foundation was under the fiscal sponsorship of Thousand Currents (formerly the International Development Exchange).  Thousand Currents officially transferred control of BLM Global Network Foundation to Tides Center in July 2020.  That same month, Cullors became the executive director of the Foundation. 
BLM Global Network Foundation claims that its mission, and the mission of the Black Lives Matter movement generally, “is to build local power and to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.” Advocating against the use of excessive force by law enforcement against African-Americans is central to the BLM Global Network Foundation mission, and the movement as a whole gained national prominence after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in which Black Lives Matters protestors played central roles in organizing demonstrations against police.  BLM Global Network Foundation co-founder Cullors wrote at the time that the Black Lives Matter movement was “rooted in grief and rage but pointed towards vision and dreams.” 
BLM Global Network Foundation organizes protests against allegedly unjustified killings of African-Americans by police. In 2017, it organized protests and petition drives to demand that Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey prosecute five Inglewood, California, police officers involved in the shooting of two African-Americans who were sleeping in the officers’ police car.  The officers were fired but not prosecuted, and eventually sued the city for discrimination and unlawful termination, settling out of court for $8.6 million. 
In 2019, BLM Global Network Foundation unveiled its #WhatMatters2020 campaign, an effort to increase African-American turnout in the 2020 presidential election and “build collective power and ensure candidates are held accountable for the issues that systematically and disproportionately impact Black and under-served communities across the nation.” The campaign features voter registration drives in minority communities and especially among younger black voters. 
In 2020, BLM Global Network Foundation began advocating for releasing inmates from prisons and local jails in response to the spread of COVID-19 in those institutions, as well as for limitations on arrests during the pandemic to prevent viral spread in jail populations. 
BLM Global Network Foundation also sponsors “Black Lives Matter Arts+Culture,” which seeks to “disrupt the status quo of the art world by uplifting emerging Black artists who speak audaciously, who are unafraid, and who stand in solidarity with the most marginalized among us.”  In 2017, BLM Global Network Foundation sponsored “The Provocateurs: A Master Series,” where “[a]rtists give 12-minute TED-style talks about their practice and journey as a provocative Black artist.” 
BLM Global Network Foundation has been noted for its links to communist ideology. In 2020, video of an interview from 2015 resurfaced in which BLM Global Network Foundation co-founder Patrisse Cullors declared that she and fellow co-founder Alicia Garza were “trained Marxists.” When Cuban dictator Fidel Castro died in 2016, the organization published an article on Medium that declared “we must push back against the rhetoric of the right and come to the defense of El Comandante,” and ended with “Fidel Vive!” Susan Rosenberg, the vice-char of the board of directors of BLM Global Network Foundation’s former fiscal sponsor Thousand Currents, was a convicted member of the May 19th Communist Organization responsible for multiple bombings in the 1980s.
BLM Global Network Foundation committed almost $2 million to get-out-the-vote efforts during the 2020 U.S. general election. Its texting campaign had “nearly 6 million conversations with Black youth voters,” it held get-out-the-vote drive-in events in Michigan and Georgia, and it brought DJs to the polls on election day in North Carolina, Nevada, and Florida.
In its 2020 Impact Report, BLM Global Network Foundation wrote that it “has decided to fully lean into its capacity as a fundraising body, grantmaking entity, amplifier, and action-oriented think tank of the movement.”
Organizational Structure and Internal Disagreements
BLM Global Network Foundation is affiliated with the political action committee Black Lives Matter PAC, and with Black Lives Matter Grassroots. Black Lives Matter Grassroots functions as an “assembly of chapters” that are “focused on local, grassroots level work.” In July 2020 there were “almost twenty chapters” in BLM Global Network Foundation’s network.
In December 2020, Politico reported that “[t]en local chapters are severing ties with the Black Lives Matter Global Network.” These chapters wrote an open letter in which they alleged that Patrisse Cullors “became Executive Director [of BLM Global Network Foundation] against the will of most chapters and without their knowledge,” and that “BLM Grassroots, does not have the support of and was created without consultation with the vast majority of chapters.”
BLM Global Network Foundation has asserted that it does not control the Black Lives Matter movement generally or even set the policy agenda for chapters within its network, claiming that it is a “leaderful,” not “leaderless” movement that relies mostly on local leadership and activism as opposed to national leadership or policy advocacy.  The organization has been subject to internal disagreements between more moderate “reform” activists and more strident “abolition” activists who seek wholesale transformation of the criminal justice and political systems.  This dynamic has led some critics to argue that BLM Global Network Foundation and the Black Lives Matter movement generally disingenuously encourages radical and strident rhetoric, especially against police officers, and then disavows acts of violence against those officers committed by persons associated with or sympathetic to the movement. 
One example of the split between reformist and abolitionist camps is the conflict between BLM Global Network Foundation co-founders Garza and Tometi. Garza has been described as advocating “for staying outside of existing power structures” and as “not interested in playing ball with Democratic politicians for the sake of a few concessions here and there—or, worse, being used as a photo op prop by politicians.” By contrast, Tometi advocated working with the leadership of the Democratic party to enact legislative changes, especially in immigration policy. The relationship between the two founders deteriorated and Tometi has not been involved in the management of BLM Global Network Foundation since December 2015. 
The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has been confused with the Black Lives Matter Foundation, a separate independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Santa Clarita, California with which it has no affiliation. Thousand Currents, the former fiscal sponsor of BLM Global Network Foundation, reported more than $90,000 in combined grants to the Santa Clarita-based Black Lives Matter Foundation in its 2017 and 2018 tax filings. Thousand Currents later explained that these tax filings were erroneous, that no money was actually provided to the Black Lives Matter Foundation, and that the money was sent to local Black Lives Matter chapters.
In 2021, the BLM Global Network Foundation released its 2020 Impact Report, which provided the first detailed look at the organization’s finances. In 2020 it raised approximately $90 million, incurred $8.4 million in operating expenses, and disbursed $21.7 million in grants. Spending on get-out-the-vote campaigns during the 2020 U.S. general election totaled almost $2 million. The organization reported a balance of approximately $60 million after these expenses and grant disbursements.
In audits covering fiscal years 2018 and 2019, Thousand Currents reported $2,622,017 and $3,354,654, respectively, in donor-restricted assets for BLM Global Network Foundation. These audits also showed that 83.3 percent of BLM Global Network Foundation expenditures were for personnel, consultant, and travel costs during the three year period from 2017-2019, while about 6 percent were for grants to outside organizations, including to local Black Lives Matter Chapters.
Organizations that donated to the BLM Global Network Foundation through its former fiscal sponsor Thousand Currents between 2015 and 2019 include the NoVo Foundation ($1,525,000), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation ($900,000) and Borealis Philanthropy ($343,000). In 2016, the Washington Times reported that the Ford Foundation had partnered with Borealis Philanthropy to create the Black-Led Movement Fund, with a goal of raising $100 million. The Black-Led Movement Fund in turn provided funding to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation several times since 2016.
In 2015, Politico reported that members of the Democracy Alliance, a network of left-leaning high-dollar donors and grant makers organized by billionaire financier George Soros and Taco Bell heir Rob McKay, were encouraged to consider making large-dollar grants to the Black Lives Matter movement. Left-leaning mega-donors Tom Steyer and Paul Egerman were also listed by Politico as invited participants. However, it is unclear how much money eventually went to BLM Global Network Foundation from this gathering. It has also been reported by the Washington Times that Soros has given groups associated with the Black Lives Matter movement more than $33 million from his Open Society Foundations (OSF), though it is again unclear if BLM Global Network Foundation directly received funding from OSF.  
On June 11, 2020, BLM Global Network Foundation acknowledged the “generosity and support of donors” when announcing a $6.5 million fund to support grassroots organizing work at any of its affiliated chapters.
In 2020, the BLM Global Network Foundation provided six-figure grants to 30 local organizations, 23 of which “are led by Black LGBTQIA folks and/or directly serve these communities in places like Chicago, New York, New Jersey, DC, and Alabama.” It also committed funding to 11 local Black Lives Matter chapters. The combined total committed to all of these organizations in 2020 was approximately $21.7 million.
Organizations identified as receiving six-figure grants from the BLM Global Network Foundation in 2020 include:
- Okra Project
- TGI Justice Project
- T.A.K.E. Birmingham
- Trans United
- Audre Lorde Project – Trans Justice
- Black Trans Circles
- Transgender Law Center – Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project (BLMP)
- Solutions Not Punishment Coalition
- Marsha P. Johnson Institute
- The Transgender District
- Black Trans Travel Fund
- For the Gworls
- House of GG
- Highlander Center
- Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD)
- Eat Chicago
- Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA)
- Africans Rising
- Haitian Bridge Alliance
- Trans Justice Funding Project
- Trans Housing Coalition – Homeless Black Trans Women Fund
- Black Trans Media
- House of Pentacles
- House of TULIP
- Black Trans Femmes in the Arts
- Brave Space Alliance
- Black Visions Collective
- Brooklyn Boihood