Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation Faces Scrutiny Over Spending & Transparency
Questions have arisen over how the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) has spent and reported on charitable contributions, as reported by New York magazine. The organization, which serves as an umbrella organization for some local BLM organizations (though not all organizations with BLM in their name) faces criticism for the purchase of a $6 million dollar home in California, as well as the appearance of lack of transparency stemming not submitting a form 990, as required by their tax exempt status granted in 2020. While right-wing and far-right news outlets are seizing on this story as an angle of political attack, Candid co-founder and former CEO of GuideStar Jacob Harold is quoted as responding to the reporting as a “very legitimate critique.”
Interior Dept. To Open Up New Onshore Land To Drilling Leases
In a reversal of a previous Biden administration moratorium, the Interior Department is opening up 144,000 acres of onshore land to new leases for oil drilling, as reported by Mother Jones. While the announcement comes as bad news to environmentalists, surging oil and gas prices have put the Biden administration between a rock and a hard place as supply chain issues and disruptions stemming from the Russia <> Ukraine war have continued to increase prices globally. The Interior Department has responded by saying that the new leases only open up 20% of what the oil industry asked for, and the royalties that the oil companies will have to pay the government will go up from 12.5 percent to 18.75 percent, the first increase in a century.
- Nonprofit aims to plug 68 orphan oil and gas wells in Montan | Independent Record
- Google Earth Timelapse: How to Use to See Your Hometown | Thrillist
- Majority of Nonprofit Health Systems Don’t Pay Their Tax Breaks Forward | HealthLeaders
- The RNC is severing ties with the nonprofit that runs presidential debates | NPR
- Dollarfor.org – nonprofit helping with hospital bills.
[00:00:00] This week on the nonprofit news feed, where Sharon A. Little bit information about recent black lives matter news and some onshore drilling in the U S that are opening up drilling leases, Nick, how’s it going?
[00:00:13] It’s going?
[00:00:14] good, George, how are you doing today?
[00:00:15] doing all right, this fine week. April we’re we’re closing out. We’re getting ready to get to the end of April.
[00:00:21] We are, I wish we were. It’s now 40 degrees in New York city, which is unwelcome, but what is welcome is another great podcast of non-profits. Today. So I’ll start us off with our first story. And The title of this story is that the black lives matter global network foundation is facing scrutiny overspending and transparency in an article published by New York magazine a couple of weeks ago, the black lives matter global network foundation, B L M G N F. is coming under a little bit of scrutiny. It appears from failing to file a form nine 90, as well as some public questions about the purchase of a essentially house a, a private property for $6 million in California. This story has been seized upon by. Right wing and far right. News outlets. But the article from New York magazine did site candid co-founder and former CEO of GuideStar, Jacob, Harold, who is quoted as responding to the reporting as very legitimate critique.
[00:01:33] And we’re not criticizing black lives matter the movement, the Oregon, you know, even the organization broadly. But I think that there, this does raise questions about transparency and. How important it is to communicate that for an organization that let’s face it has lots of, lots of people who are looking to attack them for political reasons.
[00:01:55] The scrutiny is inevitably going to be high for an organization like BLM. That almost goes. Without saying, I think some of the issues are as that, the lack of filing truly the, the nine 90 and it’s tough, you know, you’re, you’re doing so many things at a non-profit, especially a newer non-profit that came about and formalized in 2020, but with reported from their own numbers in February 90 million being raised in 2020, you get to a point where I think filing a nine 90 and financial transparency.
[00:02:29] Tantamount to your ability to continue to have the trust of the, of the community and for future donors. And it becomes almost like an existential question of saying, if we can’t communicate the transparency of, of the work then you know, it’s, that is a fundamental risk. And frankly, I kind of think. I hate the, oh my gosh.
[00:02:51] They bought this piece of real estate here. This house here, like I like walk down park avenue, walk down any major street. And look for some of the like venerable organizations that have these like gigantic buildings, which are by the way, amazing stores of freaking value, amazing stores of value in a time when inflation is going up in a diversification of revenue.
[00:03:14] And by the way, you don’t have to pay rent that you would have otherwise had to pay. So if you’re trying to create like a a hundred year organization, yeah. Go buy a building. But be transparent about it. Report it, show everyone that like, this is what we did. Yeah. That’s like it it’s frustrating because of two things.
[00:03:33] One the transparency and filing 9 97. Having to be just buttoned up for a 90 million organization that hasn’t apparently reportedly filed. And since founding, and then two is just, you know, you’ve just giving fodder to a right-wing frankly media narrative that they’re all too eager to jump on and expound upon to then unfortunately discredit a very, very valid movement.
[00:04:00] And so. It’s something interesting to pay attention to. We debated whether or not to even put it in here and to further talking about it, but we thought it’s important to, to understand this as, as best as we could at least looking at the limited information.
[00:04:14] Absolutely. I think that’s a great analysis storage. I’ll also call out that the particular. Organization in question is one of just many that have black lives matter in its name. There’s loosely affiliated local organizations and chapters, and there’s lots of different black lives matter organizations.
[00:04:34] Are separate entities from this. So this is not saying this is not the whole movement we’re talking about. We’re talking about one of quite a few organizations that have black lives matter in its title, or are affiliated with the movement. All right. I can take us into our next story. And this one is about the department of interior opening up new on-shore land to drilling leads. So in a reversal of a previous Biden administration moratorium, the interior department is opening up 144,000 acres of onshore land to new leases for oil drilling as reported by mother Jones.
[00:05:12] This announcement comes as bad news to environment. But surging oil and gas prices, but the Biden administration between a rock and a hard place as supply chain issues and disruptions stemming from the Russia, Ukraine, war, and other inflationary and global supply chain pressures have continued to increase prices globally.
[00:05:32] The interior department responded to this criticism saying that the new leases only open up approximately 20% of what the oil industry asked for and that the royalties, the oil companies will have to pay. The government will go up from 12.5% to 18.75%, which represents the first increase in nearly a century.
[00:05:51] But George, I think the angle here is that there’s no winning politically for the Biden administration on this. And. You know, we are, we’re at the crux of really, really hard conversations where environmental priorities prices around things like oil and gas are running up against our values. And there are really, really hard choices being made.
[00:06:20] And I wonder what your take is on this and as well as the nonprofit.
[00:06:23] It’s a hard time. It’s anytime you’re talking about the environment, a long-term consequence versus an immediate emergency, you know, which one wins. Unfortunately, we already have tons of tons of land, public land land that has already been designated for drilling. That is not being drilled right now. So you can very clearly see, you know, never let an emergency crisis go to waste, being leveraged by the folks lobbying for opening up more public land to this.
[00:06:59] The other side of it is, yeah, of course we need to, you know, stop a frankly, a very violent dictator. Who’s got a stranglehold on Europe’s oil, which is causing untold suffering on a population of people right now. And very clearly more oil will alleviate the pain and suffering of, you know, in many ways, those individuals over the long-term.
[00:07:22] However, so too will global warming increasing. And so, you know, you have 144,000 acres of public land. You think they’re getting oil out of that tomorrow? You think they’re just going to turn on the old switcheroo. Pipes lines built in rigs pulled in, pulled out of the oil. I get varying numbers in terms of how long it takes to get oil out of the ground.
[00:07:43] But I’ll tell you what, I don’t believe it happens in the timeframe of being able to get one barrel of oil from any of those acres to Europe or to a place in need in a period of time in this emergency. But guess what it’s been allocated and leased and gone. So I feel for the environmentalist and it’s hard to raise your voice when.
[00:08:02] Are dying. And when those two things are like, brought into like, well, it’s either either you give us this land or Ukraine dies and you’re like, I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about, but very clearly a lot of pressure, no good answers for, you know, president pilot on this one. But I was actually sad to see it.
[00:08:21] Cause I, I do not believe that those acres make one bit of difference in terms of like this year’s oil supply. Maybe it’s. Long term, I guess.
[00:08:32] No. I absolutely agree. This is not, this is not going to set down oil and gas prices within the next couple of weeks or months, or, you know, how long, but the politics of this are, are perilous. And the flip side is quite frankly if the binder administration, you know, does it. Cave in, like they have to play the political long game as well. Or else, you know, there, there can be long-term political consequences that would even have politicians who want to open up even more land to drilling. So it
[00:09:07] And then like, logically, you’re not you logically, you might need these. Here’s the counter case to that where you may need a lot more oil, frankly, for this glorious transition. That’s not going to happen overnight. We’re not about to be able to roll out enough electric cars and infrastructure for people to get there.
[00:09:24] In the meantime, like that’s where environmental justice comes in, where you’re saying like, oh yeah, everyone just get an electric car. Like, okay. With what money and what natural resources are we, are we doing that? So there’s like a logical transition. It’s going to take a long time and needing to have oil on hand.
[00:09:40] So, you know I think done in the context of a long-term plan. That makes sense. But anytime I see reactionary, oh gosh, there’s a crisis today. Let’s do something that has long-term impacts. I, that kind of sets off an alarm bell. So I do see the fact that. People are going to need oil for quite some time, while we make the glorious transition to 20, 30, and beyond, and then we have to cut emissions.
[00:10:02] But in doing that, it doesn’t mean you’ll need suddenly a cliff of like, oh, in five years, we’re done with oil. Glad we’re glad we’re past that phase. Like the, you know, the infrastructure is not there and doing it too quickly will only advantage the rich and the people that have the means by which to pay for you know electrified vehicles.
[00:10:23] Absolutely. All interconnected. Moving us along into the summary. Our first story along the same lines is about a nonprofit in Montana that is aiming to plug 68 orphan oil. Gas Wells in the state, the nonprofit organization, well done foundation is working with the Montana board of oil and gas conservation.
[00:10:54] And it looks like they’re moving to a point where there’ll be able to kind of take ownership over these oil and gas Wells, and then essentially plug them. So on the flip side of that, we see a non-profit stepping up and the conservation.
[00:11:09] Yeah, I don’t understand why a nonprofit is necessarily in charge of doing this versus the folks that drilled it in the first place. But yeah, it’s, it’s good to see that. Being done and very great sort of well done foundation in terms of naming. So hats off to them for the name as well.
[00:11:25] You’re jealous. He didn’t come up with that. Right?
[00:11:27] If you had given me enough time, I would have no, maybe not. Yeah, no, it’s it’s perfect. It’s perfect. Don’t change.
[00:11:36] It’s a good one. It’s a good one.
[00:11:38] Well done. Well done.
[00:11:40] I love it. All right. Our next story again, focusing on environmental conservation, and this is kind of a cool one is that Google earth has introduced a time-lapse feature and partnership with NASA, the us geological survey and the European union Copernicus program.
[00:11:59] As Well as Carnegie Mellon university’s researchers, and they’ve created a program where you can do a time-lapse of the land and see how the land and your hometown and home city have changed over time. And I think that this is a really cool way to leverage tech, to tell a story and a narrative using.
[00:12:20] Real photos and satellite imagery about the precariousness of our environment. And I think a really innovative feature will hopefully get more people involved in caring about the environment and their own community.
[00:12:36] I think this is really. Or any organization dealing with issues of potential neighborhood, gentrification organizations, dealing with local environmental issues, organizations dealing with public lands. We were just talking about organizations, dealing with urban sprawl and the stretch of this, because you can see it over time and something that would have been.
[00:13:01] Amazingly expensive to research and find historical documents and photos can now be done with a click of a button. So share this information with frankly, anybody working in those fields. This is an amazing opportunity to give a very clear visual, an objective truth. Here was the earth 37 years ago.
[00:13:26] Here is the earth in this neighborhood. This is not subject to like opinion. It is showing people quite visually what has happened. And conversely, you can show a positive effects of development. Maybe that your organization has been working in an area and it is, you know, improved the, the number of trees in a neighborhood in greenery.
[00:13:47] So use this tool. It is super cool. I may read an article.
[00:13:51] I love it. I’ll read an article, but it’s a cool tool, definitely worth exploring. And I think that’s a great, a great way of how we can think about how it informs a lot of different aspects of our understanding of our communities, our cities and the environment. All right. Our next story. Is about the majority of non-profit profit health systems not paying their tax breaks forward.
[00:14:20] So this is an article from health leaders, media.com, and it reports that the lown Institute, which is a. Think tank foundation found that nearly 83% of health systems spent less on charity than the value of their tax breaks resulting in an $18.4 billion total fair share deficit. So I guess the takeaway here is that the tax breaks are meant to essentially be paid forward.
[00:14:53] The largest hospital systems in the country, many of them are not reinvesting the value of those tax breaks within their communities. And this article lists out the, the top largest ones in terms of that fair share deficit and. This is something, you know, the health non-profit system are very different from traditional 5 0 1 C3 is, and we’re not experts on that.
[00:15:20] But George, I wonder what your takeaway is on this because at the end of the day, most hospitals are tax exempt organizations.
[00:15:27] Yeah. There’s a huge issue here. I was very happy to see this article and sort of bringing to light. If you’re getting the tax treatment of a 5 0 1 C3, it is vitally important that you pay it forward to the community rather than just bank it or hide the fact that there are services that people can apply for.
[00:15:47] There is there are organizations out there that actually. Fight for people that have hospital bills, the number one reason Americans go bankrupt. The number one reason is because of healthcare costs and actually it is frequently over, you know, looked or hidden or not realized that there is a clause in many of these hospitals that say, if you cannot pay.
[00:16:10] Have to, if you’re below a certain threshold and the ability to pay there are organizations out there. One I think is called dollar four and there’s other like fair health.org that really try to fight for patients’ rights in terms of you know, nonprofit, public funded hospitals that actually should not be driving people into bankruptcy, but rather absolving and offering The burden of that, that treatment.
[00:16:37] So there’s a lot to unpack here, but, you know, 227 nonprofit systems collectively failed to invest 18.4 billion into the community. And when I read that as 18.4 billion, that could have been used to potentially prevent those types of, you know, those types of tragedies with regard to to driving people into bankruptcy.
[00:16:59] Absolutely. It’s it’s. To be honest as a young person, who’s very fortunate to have health insurance and, and thinking about that it’s the health system in America is, is whack. It, it is crazy. I personally spent time in Europe and just even explaining to people how the healthcare system in America works and how that, that fact you raise. Americans can go bankrupt or lose their homes from healthcare costs is a completely foreign concept to so many other democratic economically advanced countries only in America. Does that happen? And I think this is just one kind of This is one way of looking at that data. And of course a much, much more larger and more complicated conversation.
[00:17:51] But to me, this, this spoke to me
[00:17:56] attention to.
[00:17:57] I just want to make sure, cause I, I breezed over this quickly, but dollar for.org they’ve saved over 14 million in medical debt relief. And basically their effort is around the debt forgiveness program. So they enforce the hospitals, hospitals, charity care policies. So in order for hospitals to keep their non-profit status, they actually have to have programs that aid families without incomes, large enough to cover their medical expenses called charity care.
[00:18:27] So it’s, this is like this split note that hospitals, I won’t say, you know what, don’t not the broad brush and take it back. However, it’s not on the first page of the brochure of the website. So these folks are actually helping families get access to this this charity care, which is part of that 5 0 1 C3.
[00:18:47] So big shout out to dollar.
[00:18:49] Absolutely. That’s awesome. All right. We have one last story and this is an interesting one. This comes from NPR and. The headline is that the RNC is severing ties with the nonprofit that runs presidential debates. So all those presidential debates we watch and cringe at on television are actually run by a non-profit organization.
[00:19:13] Usually they’re hosted at universities and schools and that sort of thing, designed to promote civic engagement and involvement in the process. The RNC. Of course the Republican national committee which represents the Republicans in those debates is severing ties with this organization. What that means for the future is potentially no debates.
[00:19:35] Nicole goes into. Details about why the Republicans may not be entirely happy with it. Most of it having to do with the current defacto leader of the Republican party. But what’s interesting is that the nonprofit commissions co-chair named Frank Fowler ring cop was himself actually the chair of the RNC.
[00:19:59] And it says that the commission is in fact non-partisan and a completely independent. Do with that, with what you may, but interesting. And I didn’t actually know that the presidential debates are organized by a non-profit. I think another cool example of a nonprofit filling a extremely vital public need.
[00:20:19] We hope they’re able to figure out some kind of resolution to this, because I think those debates are instructive in ways that may not always be. Yeah, entirely welcome or obvious, but quite the interesting drama playing out here, but a reminder of the non-profit sector playing a vital role in all aspects of American civic life.
[00:20:44] Yeah, I think it’s a good summary. I had so real sad. State of affairs for like the ability to have political discourse at a national level. And with, you know, I wonder what the commission on presidential debates does if nobody wants, if half the party doesn’t want to use them.
[00:21:04] That’s the end. It’s like an existential crisis.
[00:21:06] You only have one half
[00:21:08] charter there.
[00:21:08] Oh brother. How about a feel? Good story, George.
[00:21:12] Yes, please.
[00:21:13] All right. This one comes from the. Website called Denver eit.com reporting out of Denver, Colorado. And it talks about a local nonprofit arts organization called the Chicano humanities and arts council.
[00:21:33] It talks about how various nonprofits have been teaming up in the Denver area. The organization revision a Westwood, nonprofit that focuses on improving food access and food security and urban land Conservancy is a real estate nonprofit that aims to preserve communities and prevent displacement are teaming up and.
[00:21:58] Helping nonprofits fight off gentrification. And we talked about nonprofits owning land and physical space and buildings, and unfortunately are experiencing the same crunch in the real estate market as everybody else. So this is a cool partnership that seems like it’s able to help a nonprofit stay in the neighborhood and community that it’s serving it.
[00:22:21] yeah, it didn’t even take us very long to realize like, Hey, there’s upside to organizations buying buildings because you can get priced out on rent and moved out of communities. And, you know, the they’re able to get loans to do this. So it’s a, it’s a good application of keeping community-based organizations in the community because in large part, their work probably contributed to the appreciation of.
[00:22:45] The value of that, of that network and that community. They’re so awesome. All right, Nick, thanks so much for these.
[00:22:52] Thanks, George I think we did a solid job today.