Person

Kailee Scales

Location:

New York, New York

Occupation:

CEO, Pencils of Promise

Kailee Scales is a left-of-center activist and nonprofit executive who currently is the chief executive officer of Pencils of Promise, a New York-based education nonprofit advocacy group. She previously worked as the managing director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. Scales also operates a consulting firm called ThinkFree Global Strategies, and has held roles at groups including Teach for America, EngenderHealth, and the Climate Group. [1] [2]

In February 2022, Scales was mentioned in reporting about the current operations of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, which raised $60 million in 2020 that is largely unaccounted for. Scales is still listed as the bookkeeper for the organization despite her LinkedIn profile stating that she left the organization in August 2020. [3] [4]

Background

Kailee Scales attended Hampton University, where she earned a degree in musical performance. She worked as executive director at the Muscular Dystrophy Association from 2000 to 2004, as a fundraiser for nonprofit Jumpstart for Young Children from 2005 to 2008, and as national director of U.S.-based programs for Mentor International from 2008 to 2009.  From 2009 to 2011, she ran fundraising operations for the Climate Group, an environmentalist nonprofit, where she solicited contributions from corporations including Hewlett-Packard and Cisco. [5]

Scales later worked as the head fundraiser for the Peace Dividend Trust, later known as Building Markets, an international development nonprofit. She then worked as director of philanthropy at EngenderHealth and as senior managing director at Teach for America. [6]

Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation

In November 2017, Kailee Scales became the managing director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation and Black Lives Matter Global Network Action Fund. Scales’s LinkedIn profile asserts that she led the organization in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests across the nation and built an operating budget of over $75 million. She also takes credit for producing several BLM-related viral videos, launching the BLM What Matters 2020 civic engagement campaign, developing digital security for the organization, launching a disinformation campaign, and creating #BLMShop, a multi-million-dollar for-profit venture. [7]

While Scales’s LinkedIn claims that she started the organization in 2017, the group was not granted nonprofit status until December 2020. [8]

Scales’s LinkedIn profile indicated that she left the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation in August 2020. She founded a consulting firm called ThinkFree Global Strategies in June 2020 and describes the firm as providing political, marketing, and diversity and equity consulting services to clients. In June 2021 she was announced as the new CEO of Pencils of Promise, a New York-based educational nonprofit. [9] [10]

In early 2022, the New York Post and Washington Examiner reported that the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation had not submitted IRS tax returns that would publicly disclose certain factors related to the $60 million that it raised after the death of George Floyd in police custody. It was also unclear who was leading the organization, as two individuals tapped to become co-interim executives stated that they had never begun working for the group. Scales was listed as the bookkeeper for the organization according to the tax filings available at press time, but Scales did not return a request for comment on the matter from the Washington Examiner. [11]

References

  1. Simko-Bednarski, Evan. “BLM has $60M on hand — but who controls it is unclear, report shows.” New York Post. January 28, 2022. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://nypost.com/2022/01/28/blm-has-60m-on-hand-but-its-unclear-who-controls-it-report/ ^
  2. “Pencils of Promise Appoints Kailee Scales Chief Executive Officer.” Kailee Scales. June 15, 2021. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.kaileescales.com/2021/06/16/pencils-of-promise-appoints-kailee-scales-chief-executive-officer/ ^
  3. “Kailee Scales.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaileescales/ ^
  4. Simko-Bednarski, Evan. “BLM has $60M on hand — but who controls it is unclear, report shows.” New York Post. January 28, 2022. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://nypost.com/2022/01/28/blm-has-60m-on-hand-but-its-unclear-who-controls-it-report/ ^
  5. “Kailee Scales.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaileescales/ ^
  6. “Kailee Scales.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaileescales/ ^
  7. “Kailee Scales.” LinkedIn Prfile. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaileescales/ ^
  8. Simko-Bednarski, Evan. “BLM has $60M on hand — but who controls it is unclear, report shows.” New York Post. January 28, 2022. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://nypost.com/2022/01/28/blm-has-60m-on-hand-but-its-unclear-who-controls-it-report/ ^
  9. “Kailee Scales.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaileescales/ ^
  10. “Pencils of Promise Appoints Kailee Scales Chief Executive Officer.” Kailee Scales. June 15, 2021. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.kaileescales.com/2021/06/16/pencils-of-promise-appoints-kailee-scales-chief-executive-officer/ ^
  11. Simko-Bednarski, Evan. “BLM has $60M on hand — but who controls it is unclear, report shows.” New York Post. January 28, 2022. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://nypost.com/2022/01/28/blm-has-60m-on-hand-but-its-unclear-who-controls-it-report/ ^

Connected Organizations

  1. Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (Non-profit)
    Former Managing Director
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