Organization Trends

Movement for Black Lives Has a New Fiscal Sponsor


The Common Counsel Foundation appears to be the new fiscal sponsor of the Movement for Black Lives, one of the primary organizations associated with the broader Black Lives Matter movement, which rose to renewed prominence in 2020.

On its website homepage, the Movement for Black Lives now identifies its fiscal sponsor as the Common Counsel Foundation:

As recently as January 4, 2021, its website listed the Alliance for Global Justice as fiscal sponsor, according to screen captures from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

Fiscal Sponsorship

Fiscal sponsorship is an arrangement through which an organization that has not obtained its own tax-exempt status from the IRS can operate as a project of an organization that has a tax-exempt status. In the case of 501(c)(3) projects, this allows for tax-deductible donations.

The Common Counsel Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Oakland, CA. Its most recent available tax filings from 2019 reveal net assets of a little over $12.2 million, with total revenue of a little over $8.8 million. Its website explains that it uses “a combination of direct grantmaking and strategic philanthropic advising for independent foundations and donors.” Its objective is to “expand philanthropic resources for progressive social movements,” and it lists three other fiscally sponsored projects on its website.

Some organizations that have reported grants in recent years to the Common Counsel Foundation on their respective tax filings and websites include the California Endowment, the Ford Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation.

A Similar BLM Sponsorship Transfer

The transfer of the Movement for Black Lives sponsorship follows soon after that of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation—the other principle Black Lives Matter organization—in 2020. As CRC reported in July, sponsorship of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation was transferred from Thousand Currents to the Tides Center, and donations on its website are currently routed through the Black Lives Matter Support Fund at the affiliated Tides Foundation.

To learn more about the organizational structure of Black Lives Matter, click here.

Robert Stilson

Robert runs several of CRC’s specialized projects. Originally from Indiana, he has a B.A. from Hanover College and a J.D. from University of Richmond School of Law, where he graduated…
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