Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors to step down amid questions about finances

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Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors is stepping down from her role as executive director of the activist group’s central foundation amid questions about her finances.

Cullors, 37, told the Associated Press on Thursday that she was leaving the position to focus on other projects, including the release of her second book and a television deal with Warner Bros. She held the top post at Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation for more than five years.

The activist said she had created “the necessary bones and foundation” at the organization and felt the “time is right” to leave. She asserted that her exit was planned for more than a year and was unrelated to scrutiny regarding her personal finances.

“Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don’t operate off of what the right thinks of me,” Cullors said.

Cullors’ finances drew attention in April after the New York Post reported she had purchased four homes for $3.2 million. The report prompted Hawk Newsome, the head of Black Lives Matter Greater New York City, to call for an “independent investigation” into the foundation’s finances. The two organizations are not affiliated.

At the time, Cullors said allegations that she enriched herself through donations meant for Black Lives Matter were ‘categorically untrue.” She denied that she received a salary from the foundation, asserting that her income came from other sources, such as proceeds from book sales and a YouTube deal.

“I think I will probably be less visible, because I won’t be at the helm of one of the largest, most controversial organizations right now in the history of our movement,” Cullors said regarding her impending exit from the foundation.

In April, the foundation disclosed that Cullors had received a total of $120,000 in compensation from 2013 to 2019.

“As a registered 501c3 non-profit organization, (the foundation) cannot and did not commit any organizational resources toward the purchase of personal property by any employee or volunteer,” the foundation said in a statement. “Any insinuation or assertion to the contrary is categorically false.”

The Associated Press previously reported that the BLM Foundation took in about $90 million in 2020 and ended the year with a balance of more than $60 million.

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