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Nonprofit led by Michael Brown's mom getting $1.4M from Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter listed the grant's purpose as “to conduct activities to educate and support Black communities.”
Black Lives Matter sign.

FLORISSANT, Mo. — Black Lives Matter approved a $1.4 million grant to a nonprofit group founded by Michael Brown’s mother, a massive infusion of funding compared with revenue generated by the group in its early years, records show.

The grant to the Michael O.D. Brown We Love Our Sons & Daughters Foundation was included in a form filed earlier this month with the Internal Revenue Service by the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation Inc. The filing, a first for the organization, made national news following criticism of its finances by both participants in its movement and their opponents. The nonprofit group listed grants made totaling $76.8 million from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. O.D. stands for Brown’s middle names, Orlandus Darrion.

Lesley McSpadden, president of the Florissant-based nonprofit group, didn't return a message seeking comment. Brown, her 18-year-old son, in 2014 was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who wasn't criminally charged by local or federal authorities.

The form filed by the Black Lives Matter foundation did not give a date for the grant to McSpadden's foundation. It listed the purpose as “to conduct activities to educate and support Black communities.” McSpadden’s foundation raised $44,129 in 2015, $39,591 in 2016 and $11,803 in 2017. Recent tax forms for the group were not immediately available.

Black Lives Matter, based in Oakland, California, didn’t return messages seeking comment. The group began as a hashtag in the wake of the 2012 death of Black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida and the acquittal of the neighborhood volunteer who shot him. It became a national movement during the Ferguson protests after Brown’s death.

The website of McSpadden’s foundation refers to five programs, including Rainbow of Mothers that has a “support fund” for mothers who have lost wages in the “face of tragedy.”

The website says Rainbow of Mothers “will provide a support system of hope that includes wrap-around resources and services including but not limited to counseling, group session, legal advice and helpful information to assist in the restorative process of rebuilding and repurposing life after loss...”

The group’s website also refers to a program called the S.T.R.I.V.E.E. Institute, which stands for Siblings Thriving and Ready to be Involved as Valuable Examples of Excellence. It is described as providing "curriculum and training for children and adolescents as they face a 'new normal' in the wake of the loss of a sibling or parent." 

Read the rest of the story on the St. Louis Business Journal website. 

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