Black Lives Matter Partners with Charity In Sign of Growth

Neal Blair, of Augusta, Ga., wears a hoodie which reads, "Black Lives Matter" as he stands on the lawn of the Capitol building during a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, on Capitol Hill, on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Washington. Black men from around the nation returned to the capital calling for changes in policing and in black communities. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Neal Blair, of Augusta, Ga., wears a hoodie which reads, “Black Lives Matter” as he stands on the lawn of the Capitol building during a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, on Capitol Hill, on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Washington. Black men from around the nation returned to the capital calling for changes in policing and in black communities. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Black Lives Matter, which two years ago grew out of street protests and a social-media hashtag, has quietly established a legal partnership with a California charity in a sign of the movement’s growth and expanding ambition, The Associated Press has learned.

The formal relationship between the national Black Lives Matter network and the San Francisco-based International Development Exchange represents another side of the loosely knit group that many Americans recognize for its sometimes-disruptive demonstrations against police shootings of unarmed black men.

Since November, the nonprofit charity also known as IDEX has been acting as a mostly unseen financial arm of Black Lives Matter, with the ability to receive grants and tax-deductible donations on the group’s behalf. More recently, the relationship evolved into a contractual partnership that will run through at least mid-2017.

IDEX is managing the group’s financial affairs, allowing Black Lives Matter to focus on its mission, including building local chapters and experimenting with its organizational structure.

“We completely understand the network is in its baby stages, and it’s going to take some years” to develop, IDEX Executive Director Rajasvini Bhansali said in an interview.

The goal, leaders say, is to jointly seek social change in struggling communities in the U.S., as well as in Asia, South America and Africa, where the charity has operated for years.

The partnership links the national protest movement, which has chapters in nearly 40 U.S. cities and several more abroad, with a small charity that has worked with the needy on several continents. IDEX collected about $2 million in contributions and grants in the year ending June 2015, according to federal tax records.

“We’ve connected people across the country working to end the various forms of injustice impacting black people,” Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza said in a statement. The organization needed to partner with an organization that “can support us as we build these connections on a global scale.”

It’s not clear what the partnership will mean for the overall direction of Black Lives Matter, which has been alternately praised and derided for its confrontational tactics.

SOURCE: The Associated Press – Michael R. Blood